The story of its life: The Story of My Life to close December 12
Well, it lasted longer than the Broadway production. The Story of My Life, the inaugural production of Chicago Muse (formerly the producing arm of Theatre Building Chicago), will close December 12, coming up three weeks short of its announced run, a spokesman confirmed this afternoon. The production was an attempted do-over by creators Neil Bartram and Brian Hill and director Richard Maltby Jr. after The Story of My Life opened and closed on Broadway in February 2009, after 19 previews and five performances. By my calculations, the Chicago production will have run for two previews and 35 performances by Sunday. I frankly suspected the show would have trouble making it to the finish line; at the performance I attended two nights after the press opening, the rented Victory Gardens Biograph Theater's 299-seat mainstage welcomed maybe two dozen audience members.
As I noted in my review, it was hard to tell what the creative team had changed in the 21 months between the two productions, aside from the venue and the cast (Davis Duffield and Jack Noseworthy, pictured, received largely the same it's-not-your-fault notices as Malcolm Gets and Will Chase did in New York). The slight material itself remains, as I wrote, "as mawkish and trite as an off-brand greeting card." Chicago Muse raised some eyebrows with a big ad buy in print media and on the CTA featuring snow angels (one of the show's recurring images) and the text "BEST NEW MUSICAL OF 2010*," with the much finer print reading "*as selected by our membership." That ballsy wording reflects Chicago Muse's interesting membership-rule producing model, which the Reader's Deanna Isaacs explained in detail last month. Former Theatre Building marketing director Jeff DeLong, who's currently working with Chicago Muse on a contract basis, says this setback won't deter the company's forward progress in 2011; Chicago Muse executive director Sean Cercone has yet to respond to a voicemail left late this afternoon.