The British actor was enjoying a starring role in a production of David Mamet’s A Life In The Theatre opposite T.R. Knight, but his Broadway turn was cut short by five weeks after low sales forced the show’s curtain down last month (Nov10).
The play is among a number of shows, including David Hyde Pierce’s La Bete and Brendan Fraser’s Elling, which have all been shut early, and Stewart fears a collapse in ticket sales could have a serious effect on Broadway.
He tells Britain’s The Independent, “Broadway seems to be going through an extraordinarily difficult time right now. We are being followed immediately by two or three other (closures). I have heard different numbers but I’ve been told between eight and a dozen Broadway shows are under the axe.
“This is so frustrating for everyone… This is traditionally one of the best times of year on Broadway in the lead up to the holidays. It is very disappointing that so many shows aren’t doing well. I knew we wouldn’t make it beyond 2 January because that is the worst month in Broadway. To have this happening now. We are in a recession, people are anxious about jobs, pensions, health and theatre prices are high. It continues to shock me.”
And Stewart is convinced London’s theatre scene is still thriving because producers are wisely keeping ticket prices down. He adds, “We are so fortunate in London; we can see the best of British theatre. If you are going to the National Theatre at a very reasonable price. On Broadway you take three people to see a show can you (sic) pay $1,000 just for the theatre tickets alone…
“There is a theatre going habit here (in London)… There is a real and lasting enthusiasm for performance. If the prices can be kept reasonable I see no reason why that can’t continue.”