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Elton John’s ‘Billy Elliot’ to Shut Down on Broadway in January

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The Miners Association of Billy Elliot
Striking members of the Miners Association form the tense social backdrop to "Billy Elliot" during a rehearsal at the Imperial Theatre in New York, U.S., on Oct. 1, 2008. The show opened to the public on Nov. 13, 2008 and has announced that it will close on Jan. 8, 2012. Photographer: David Scheinmann/Barlow-Hartman via Bloomberg News

Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Three years and three months after it danced onto Broadway, the $18 million Elton John musical “Billy Elliot” is closing, its producers said today.

Stephanie Lee, president of Group Sales Box Office, said “Billy Elliot” producers, including Universal Pictures and Weinstein Live Entertainment, treated her and other ticket agents to an “appreciation lunch” last week in the Theater District.

“It was a gracious gesture, so it was very surprising to hear the news today,” she said. “Everyone thought it would run longer than three years.”

The show, about striking British coal miners during the Margaret Thatcher era of denationalization, has been running in London’s West End since 2005. It hasn’t proven as popular with Broadway audiences.

Recently the producers attempted to make the show more appealing to American audiences by changing some of the working-class British slang. They also reduced the amount of profanity in the show.

Based on the 2000 film of the same name, “Billy Elliot” is about a boy from a depressed mining town who develops a love for ballet dancing. The show won the 2009 Tony Award for best musical -- and nine other Tonys -- and recouped its initial investment after 14 months.

“Billy Elliot” grossed $718,000 last week, 54 percent of capacity, according to the Broadway League. Its Jan. 8 shuttering will follow by a week that of “The Addams Family,” which will have run 22 months on Broadway.

A magnet for tourists, Broadway has been considered largely immune from stock market drama and U.S. economic woes. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 2.9 percent today to 1099, a one-year low.

To contact the writer of this column: Philip Boroff in New York at pboroff@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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