Sheridan Smith is ‘heartbroken’ as she opens up about early closure of West End play

‘I felt that I’d let them down in a way, that I couldn’t sell it,’ said the tearful actor

Maira Butt
Sunday 05 May 2024 11:21 BST
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Sheridan Smith has spoken about the premature closure of her West End play Opening Night,which was forced to end its run two months early after slow ticket sales and cutting reviews.

The 42-year-old actor said she was “heartbroken” as she broke down in tears in a new interview with The Times.

Olivier Award-nominated Smith stars in the musical as an anxious, alcoholic actor whose mental health declines after she witnesses a death.

Though it opened in March and was scheduled to run at the Gielgud Theatre until 27 July, Opening Night will close on 18 May.

“I was just heartbroken for the company. I felt that I’d let them down in a way, that I couldn’t sell it,” Smith said, as she started to cry.

However, the Cleaning Up star has no regrets about taking on a new and unfamiliar challenge.

“I feel bad for the team and all the work they put in, but I’m at that age now where I want to be challenged. I want to do new things, I don’t want to do that same old boring stuff,” she said.

“I would do it again in a heartbeat, so I have no regrets.”

Sheridan Smith has ‘no regrets’ about Opening Night
Sheridan Smith has ‘no regrets’ about Opening Night (Getty Images/Jan Versweyveld)

The Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps actor also wondered if the project would have experienced more success at a different theatre or had she done more publicity and promotion for it.

Nevertheless, she added that the work had been very beneficial for her on a personal level, describing it as “therapy”.

“This has been very cathartic for me... It’s been like therapy, and even though it’s closing early, we still did it.”

The Opening Night production reportedly had a therapist on hand for the whole cast as it dealt with difficult topics.

Producers Wessex Grove announced the decision to end the play’s run sooner than planned on 11 April.

The statement added: “In a challenging financial landscape, Opening Night was always a risk and, while the production may not have had the life we had hoped for, we feel immensely proud of the risk we took and of this extraordinary production.

“Our world-class cast delivers a brilliant show night after night, and there are still five weeks left to see Sheridan Smith in the role of a lifetime. What is sure-fire and safe has its place.”

The show’s ticket prices were discounted by some retailers as a potential incentive for audience members to buy. Tickets on London Theatre had a 36 per cent discount with prices starting from £25. However, higher-end tickets were still available for purchase at £180.

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