By David Ng
7:18 AM PDT, August 21, 2013
The Beatles tribute musical "Let It Be" has done solid business on London's West End since opening last fall. But the same jukebox production has failed to entice audiences in New York, leading producers to announce this week that they will close the Broadway version of the musical on Sept. 1, four months earlier than expected.
"Let It Be," which opened at the St. James Theatre on July 24, had been scheduled to run through Dec. 29. The show is the latest in a line of Beatles-themed musical to have graced Broadway -- a mini-genre that has seen mixed results at the box office.
"Rain," another tribute-type show, played for nearly a year on Broadway in 2010 and 2011, while the John Lennon musical "Lennon" was a bomb, closing after little more than a month in 2005. The gold standard in terms of box office remains "Beatlemania," a hit on Broadway that ran for two years in the '70s.
And there's more Beatles likely to come. "Backbeat," about the relationship between Stuart Sutcliffe and photographer Astrid Kirchherr, is strongly rumored to be headed to Broadway following a run at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles earlier this year.
Since opening, "Let It Be" has failed to gross more than $400,000 on a weekly basis on Broadway and has been running to steadily declining audiences. In the most recent reported week, the production played to only 40% capacity, according to data from the Broadway League.
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