David Mamet’s ‘The Anarchist’ flops on Broadway, closing early

David Mamet, in New York in 2010. The playwright's latest drama, "The Anarchist," has posted an early closing notice following lukewarm to negative reviews.
(Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images)

What do David Mamet and Kathie Lee Gifford have in common? Both have flops on Broadway this season.

Mamet’s new play “The Anarchist,” which just opened on Sunday at the John Golden Theatre in New York, announced late Tuesday that it will close on Dec. 16. The play, starring Patti LuPone and Debra Winger, received lukewarm to negative reviews.

Many critics noted that the play’s structure -- an extended philosophical conversation lasting a little more than one hour -- would be rough going for audiences.

“The Anarchist,” which Mamet directed, stars LuPone as an incarcerated leftist radical who meets with a prison official (Winger) to determine her fate. The play is one of two Mamet productions currently running on Broadway -- the other is a revival of “Glengarry Glen Ross,” starring Al Pacino, which is in an extended preview period.

“The Anarchist” will have played for 17 regular performances and 23 preview performances by the time it closes.


The early closing of the Mamet play comes on the heels of another big box-office disappointment -- Gifford’s “Scandalous,” which will close on Sunday.

“Scandalous,” at the Neil Simon Theatre, is a musical about the Los Angeles evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, who founded the Foursquare Church. The show features a book and lyrics by Gifford, the TV personality who is a co-host of NBC’s “Today” show. The musical opened to mostly negative reviews in November.

“Chaplin,” the biographical musical about the silent film star that ran at the La Jolla Playhouse before transferring to Broadway, will close earlier than expected, on Jan. 6. Plans for a national tour have been announced.

Mamet’s last Broadway flop was in 2008 with a revival of “American Buffalo,” starring Haley Joel Osment, John Leguizamo and Cedric the Entertainer. The production closed after just eight regular performances.


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