“Almost Famous,” a stage adaptation of the acclaimed 2000 film about a teenager who travels with a rock band while endeavoring to become a music journalist, will close on Broadway on Jan. 8 after an unsuccessfully short run.
The musical, which had one of the season’s biggest budgets and best-known brands, began previews Oct. 3 and opened Nov. 3. The reviews were mostly not good; in The New York Times, the critic Jesse Green wrote that, despite the film’s charms, “the stage musical misses every opportunity to be the sharp, smart entertainment it might have been.”
The show’s grosses have been so-so, and insufficient to consistently cover its running costs: during the week that ended Dec. 11, it grossed $765,060, while playing to houses that were only three-quarters full. At the time of its closing “Almost Famous,” which stars Casey Likes, Drew Gehling, Anika Larsen, Solea Pfeiffer and Chris Wood, will have had 30 preview performances and 77 regular performances.
The musical is a passion project for Cameron Crowe, who won an Oscar for the film’s screenplay, which was based on his experiences as an adolescent (he also directed the film). Crowe wrote the musical’s book, while Tom Kitt composed the new music, and the two collaborated on the lyrics. The show, directed by Jeremy Herrin, also features a few pre-existing songs, the best known of which is Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.”
“Almost Famous,” produced by Lia Vollack and Michael Cassel, was capitalized for up to $18 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It has not recouped that money; the producers hope that the show will fare better beyond Broadway. (A cast album is to be released March 17, and the producers said in a statement that they anticipate “many productions in communities across the country and world, for years to come.” One probable destination: Australia, where Cassel is one of the biggest commercial producers.)
Like Crowe himself, the show spent its formative period in San Diego: It had a pre-Broadway production in 2019 at the Old Globe Theater there. The Los Angeles Times declared it “an unqualified winner.”