Goodbye Gary, as stage musical closes

David Lister@davidlister1
Thursday 05 June 1997 23:02

The American humorist Neil Simon has suffered a rare reverse in his long career with the closure of the London stage musical of The Goodbye Girl, starring Gary Wilmot.

The show, based on the hit Neil Simon film, never recovered from poor reviews. It means just a two-month run for the musical, following in the wake of other musical closures including Tommy and Sunset Boulevard. Unlike those two, however, The Goodbye Girl, which used Simon's dialogue though he did not write the songs, received very poor reviews.

"The critics were very harsh, and it affected the show," a spokeswoman said yesterday. "It is very sad." The last night of the production will be 28 June, she said, and would not comment on the cost of early closure, but one estimate was six figures.

It marks a rare flop for entertainer Gary, 43, who has scored box office hits with virtually every show he has starred in, from Me And My Girl to Copacabana and Carmen Jones.

The Goodbye Girl also stars Aspects Of Love star Ann Crumb as the thirtysomething former chorus girl convinced from bitter experience that actors are a bad bet for love.

The show represents a rare West End flop for producer E & B Productions, whose recent successes include Buddy and Jolson. Another West End show is also set for early closure - Steaming, the revival of Nell Dunn's 1980s all-women play set in a Turkish bath and starring comedienne Jenny Eclair. The show, now running at the Piccadilly Theatre, is to shut after just four weeks on 14 June.

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