Two boldly reimagined revivals of beloved American musicals — a blood-soaked and bluegrass-tinged “Oklahoma!” and a “Fiddler on the Roof” performed entirely in Yiddish — will end their acclaimed runs in January.
The “Oklahoma!” production, now at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theater, won this year’s Tony Award for best musical revival, and also won a Tony for Ali Stroker, the actress playing Ado Annie, who became the first performer using a wheelchair to take theater’s top prize. It will close Jan. 19.
“Fiddler” is an Off Broadway production, now running at Stage 42. It will close Jan. 5.
Both productions were praised by critics for offering new ways to see, hear and feel two of the most cherished works of the musical theater canon. The “Oklahoma!” revival emphasizes the violence and danger of an American frontier community, while the authenticity of the “Fiddler” revival reinforces its poignancy.
The productions were both successful in many ways, with humble beginnings that led to extended runs. Neither has yet become a financial success, but each production said it is hoping to recoup its capitalization costs through touring productions.
“Oklahoma!,” directed by the avant-garde innovator Daniel Fish, had a first professional production in 2015 at Bard College’s SummerScape festival, and then last year had a successful Off Broadway run at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn before beginning performances in March on Broadway, where the lead producer is Eva Price.
Its box office grosses have fluctuated, peaking at $651,744 during the week ending April 28; the show grossed $473,275 during the week that ended Oct. 20. Thus far it has been seen by 151,782 people and has grossed a total of $16.5 million, according to the Broadway League.
“There’s a long future still ahead for Daniel Fish’s groundbreaking production,” said Ms. Price, who cited a 45-week tour that is scheduled to begin in Oklahoma City next fall, as well as “other international productions, currently in the planning stages.”
The Broadway production and the tour were jointly capitalized for $8.5 million, Ms. Price said.
The production has not publicized a closing announcement, but has been advertising Jan. 19 as its final performance, and Ms. Price confirmed her intention to end the Broadway run at that point. The production was initially announced as a limited engagement through Sept. 1 and was then extended.
“Fiddler,” directed by the Tony-and-Oscar-winning actor Joel Grey and deploying English and Russian supertitles, is a project of the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene, and began with a run last year at the Museum of Jewish Heritage before transferring in February to Midtown Manhattan, where the lead producers are Hal Luftig and Jana Robbins. The “Fiddler” production told the cast of plans to close on Tuesday.
“Fiddler” was capitalized for $2.6 million, and hopes to recoup those costs with national and international tours, including a production in Australia opening next September.
The first production of “Oklahoma!” opened on Broadway in 1943, and the current production is the fifth Broadway revival. The musical, by Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers, depicts a love triangle set on a farm in Indian Territory in 1906, just before Oklahoma became part of the United States.
“Fiddler,” featuring music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and a book by Joseph Stein, first opened on Broadway in 1964, and has been revived there five times. Set in a Russian village in 1905, it depicts tensions between tradition and assimilation — personified by the concerns of a dairyman with five daughters — in a shtetl imperiled by anti-Jewish violence.