Conti s Jesus My Boy Closes Early, 6 FebDate: 14 January 1999
John Dowie's comic take on the manger story, starring Tom Conti, has posted early closing notices. Jesus My Boy, which opened at the West End's Apollo Theatre on 10 December 1998 (previews from 7 December), had been booking until 27 February 1999. It will now close 6 February after a run of nine weeks.
Co-producer Laurence Myers blames the decision to close early on a marketing miscalculation. 'Frankly, we made a mistake with the name and the poster showing Tom with the nativity scene,' he told What's On Stage. 'Everybody thought it was a Christmas play and it isn't.' As the media also latched onto this view, said Myers, he and partner Tom Kinninmont concluded that this would result in a reduction in audiences in February.
Prior to the publication of mixed reviews, Conti and show producers announced plans to transfer the show to New York. Conti told What's On Stage at the time: 'We do plan to go there with it, and I think audiences on Broadway will like it even better than here.' In particular, Conti felt that the strong Jewish element in the piece would appeal to New York audiences.
Myers said today that this, as well as a UK national tour and an eventual screen version, are still in the works though no dates or venues have yet been confirmed. The UK tour may kick off sometime between April and September of this year. But any future plans will include a name change and marketing overhaul to clarify that the play is not a Christmas-only event.
Jesus My Boy, a one-man show, tells the story of the birth and death of Christ as seen through the eyes of his downtrodden mortal father, Joseph. The 70-minute performance is followed by an on-stage discussion with Conti.