Two recently opened Broadway shows abruptly announced their closing this week.
Producers of “KPOP” announced on Tuesday that the musical composed by Helen Park would close this Sunday December 11 at Circle in the Square on Broadway, having played 44 preview performances and 17 regular performances. Three days later, late Friday night, the producers of “Ain’t No Mo'” announced that the play by Jordan E. Cooper will play its final performance on Broadway next Sunday, December 18 at the Belasco Theatre, having played 22 preview and 21 regular performances.
“Ain’t No Mo'” received largely positive views; the critical reception for “KPOP” was more mixed. But their shockingly brief runs say less about their quality than about the inability of Broadway to attract a broader audience. As playwright Lynn Nottage noted after the announcement of Ain’t No Mo’s closing, “the Broadway Marketing machine hasn’t yet accepted that it is urgent and necessary to reach multicultural and young audiences beyond the same small homogenous circle they’ve been cultivating for years.”
Hashtags have sprung up to #SaveKPOP and #SaveAintNoMo, but the campaign for “KPOP” seemed generated by fans, and didn’t go anywhere. The show closed as planned on December 11th, the final 15 minutes of the closing performanc streamed live on the musical’s Instagram and TikTok accounts.
By contrast, the campaign to continue “Ain’t No Mo'” was initiated by playwright Jordan E. Cooper: “They’ve posted an eviction notice,” he wrote in a Twitter post. “But thank God Black people are immune to eviction notices.”
He followed up in a curtain call speech at the show Friday night.
On Cooper’s Instagram account, he wrote that Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith had bought out a performance of the show.
A talkback has been scheduled by Lena Waithe forTuesday, December 13 at 7:00 p.m. RuPaul will host a special performance on Thursday, December 15 at 7:00 p.m.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Cooper called the closing of KPOP “a travesty, because it’s a red alert that we have to change the way we do marketing when it comes to these types of shows. We can’t do the same old Broadway traditional stuff. We’ve got to try something new. Because a lot of these audiences that will actually enjoy these works are outside of the traditional Broadway audience. They’re not the same people who want to see Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly!, unless you’re me, because I fit in both those categories. But it’s a conversation that artists of color have been having for a very long time, and I think that right now we’re seeing the fruits of that.”