`A Catered Affair' sets a July 27 closing date

June 19, 2008 6:16:06 PM PDT
The Broadway wedding celebration known as "A Catered Affair" will end its run next month. The Harvey Fierstein-John Bucchino musical about one family's tribulations over its daughter's upcoming nuptials closes July 27 after playing 116 performances at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

The $6.5 million production opened to mostly downbeat reviews in April and failed to get an all-important best-musical Tony nomination last month, although two of its stars, Faith Prince and Tom Wopat, received nominations.

In "A Catered Affair," Prince plays a woman trapped in a stifling marriage to a taxi driver (Wopat) and the show centers on how their daughter's impending marriage forces them to confront the truths about their own relationship. Watching from the sidelines is the woman's gay brother, portrayed by Fierstein, who wrote the musical's book.

"I just wanted to tell a story about real people dealing with real emotions that all of us deal with on a daily basis," Fierstein said Thursday in a telephone interview. "I told that story as honestly as I could and in a musical form (by composer Bucchino) in which there is a kind of invisible line between speaking and singing in which they sing and speak in the same voice."

Thousands of people loved "A Catered Affair," said Fierstein, but "a lot maybe thought it was too challenging or didn't get it at all. It took some people multiple viewings to get it."

Yet Fierstein is optimistic about the future life of the show.

"I assume we are going to have a huge life after Broadway," he said. "We have genuine interest in foreign markets around the world. ... It is a show that can be produced by almost anyone. The show needs very little - or as much as you want to give. It will have a life in universities, regional theaters. Any place where they have a great leading lady, a great leading man. And what theater doesn't have a man to play the uncle?

"I've never seen an audience in a musical do what our audience does - the weeping and the crying and the love," he added. "A lot of women have come time and time again. It's becoming the 'Rent' of middle-aged women - which they haven't had since Hugh Jackman shook his tuchas in `The Boy From Oz."' As for Fierstein's future?

"I have something in mind for 2010. But I had kind of planned on doing 'A Catered Affair' through 2009," he said with a rueful laugh.