The touring edition of "Sugar Babies," which opened at the Kennedy Center Opera House two weeks ago to generally downbeat notices, will close Saturday night, cutting its five-week run short by two weeks.
Ticket sales for the musical, which celebrates the glory days of burlesque, have been sluggish and its weekly grosses were "nowhere near" the $250,000 weekly break-even figure, according to the Kennedy Center's chairman, Roger Stevens. Patrons holding tickets for the last two weeks of the run can exchange them for remaining performances this week or return them to the point of purchase for a refund.
With both the National and Ford's Theatre shut down, the closing aggravates one of Washington's worst summer theater seasons in years. Except for The Grand Kabuki of Japan, scheduled July 20 to 25, the Opera House is without bookings and will go dark during August. Stevens said the time would be used to refurbish seats and carpeting and make repairs on the curtain. A return engagement of the musical "Annie" has been set for September.
While it remains a big hit in New York, "Sugar Babies" has fared poorly on the road. A national company starring Robert Morse and Carol Channing folded in Boston in November of 1980. The Kennedy Center version, a bus and truck company featuring Eddie Bracken and Mimi Hines, will now lay off for four weeks, then reopen in Grand Rapids for a tour of the Midwest.