Luxe Life Blog
‘Surf the Musical’ to close after just six weeks at Planet Hollywood
By John Katsilometes
Time to pack up the boards, kids.
A little more than a month after opening for previews and three weeks after its gala premiere, “Surf the Musical” has announced that it is closing at Planet Hollywood.
The production’s cast and crew were notified Tuesday evening that the show would close after next Wednesday’s performance.
It was a quick ride. “Surf” opened for previews June 29, a week later than intended, and its formal unveiling at Peepshow theater was July 17. A spokesman for the show said late Tuesday that he had not heard officially that the show was closing, but those involved in the production confirmed that they had been notified of the Aug. 15 closing.
Directed by Kristin Hanggi, who helmed the Broadway hit “Rock of Ages,” the show was steeped in resources from first-time producer J. Burton Gold, Michael Ingram and Skip Klintworth (who invested a reported $10 million in the new musical) and was set entirely to the music of the Beach Boys, who never formally endorsed the production.
The show followed the thin storyline of young musician Tanner (played by Marshal Kennedy Carolan) returning to his home on the beach after flaming out on an attempt to become a rock ’n’ roll star. He finds his ex-girlfriend Brooke (Lauren Zakrin) has fallen for a guy named Rip (Alex Ringler), and as such Beach Boys classics as “Good Vibrations,” “California Girls” and “Surfin’ Safari” were cranked out by a live band, Tanner set about winning Brooke back.
The show’s investment was reflected in the adept use of video panels behind the stage, the hiring of Adrian Zmed (“Grease 2” and “Bachelor Party” on film, the “Grease” touring and Broadway production and the TV series “T.J. Hooker” and “Dance Fever”) in a lead role and the use of live musicians in place of recorded tracks.
But the show never caught on, receiving reviews that ranged from tepid to poisonous and reportedly never sold more than 200 tickets to any performance in a 1,500-seat theater. For at least one show, fewer than 50 tickets were purchased (prices were in line with some of the top Las Vegas productions -- $70 to $158).
The closing of “Surf” leaves Planet Hollywood’s entertainment lineup at Peepshow theater in a state of flux, as the anchor production “Peepshow” is due for a significant cast change when Holly Madison departs in December (her replacement or replacements have not been announced). Also, Cee Lo Green’s highly anticipated, Liberace-inspired production “Loberace” has been delayed from a late-August opening to a Feb. 27 debut.
“Surf” is the second musical driven by Beach Boys music to ride a short wave. In 2005, “Good Vibrations” (which also was not endorsed by the band) closed on Broadway after just 94 performances. As it turns out, that figure is more than double the number of shows “Surf” managed on the Strip.