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A Last-Minute Reprieve: Urban Cowboy to Continue Performances

By New York City

Matt Cavenaugh and Jenn Colella in Urban Cowboy(Photo: © Paul Kolnik)
Matt Cavenaugh and Jenn Colella in Urban Cowboy
(Photo: © Paul Kolnik)
In a bit of Broadway drama that may well be unprecedented, it was announced tonight during curtain calls of what was to have been the final Broadway performance of the new musical Urban Cowboy that the show will, in fact, be continuing performances.

Urban Cowboy opened on Thursday, March 27 to mostly negative reviews. The cast was informed just prior to the Friday evening performance that the show would shutter after the Saturday night performance, and a closing notice was posted. But after the company bows tonight, director Lonny Price took the stage. In a voice hoarse with fatigue and emotion, he first praised Urban Cowboy producers Chase Mishkin and Leonard Soloway. Then, to the shock and joy of everyone in the company, he announced that tonight was not, in fact, closing night. Pandemonium ensued, both on stage and in the audience.

Though Price did not specify how long the show might continue running, a source told TheaterMania that the producers hope to keep it going for at least another two weeks. Among other things, this will allow a much larger percentage of voters for the Tony Awards and other theatrical honors to see the show and, thus, will give the cast and the creative team a chance at nominations that they wouldn't have had if Urban Cowboy had closed after four performances. The show stars Matt Cavenaugh as Bud, Jenn Colella as Sissy, Leo Burmester as Uncle Bob, Sally Mayes as Aunt Corene, Jodi Stevens as Pam, Marcus Chait as Wes, and Rozz Morehead as Jesse.

Based on the 1980 film of the same title that starred John Travolta and Debra Winger, which was in turn based on an Esquire magazine piece by Aaron Latham, Urban Cowboy has a book by Latham and the late Phillip Oesterman that concerns the coming of age of a callow, mechanical-bull-riding Texas youth. Its score includes "Lookin' for Love," "The Devil Went Down To Georgia," and other familiar country songs, plus new numbers penned by such writers as Jeff Blumenkrantz, Bob Stillman, and the show's musical director/conductor, Jason Robert Brown. Choreography for Urban Cowboy is by Melinda Roy.

Following Lonny Price's surprise announcement tonight, many of the cast members burst into tears. Rozz Morehead then sang a song that had been cut from the show, amending one of the lyrics to say "We'll be right here -- on Monday." Finally, an emotional Matt Cavenaugh read a letter from one of the show's fans and shouted to the cheering audience, "Thank God you were all here tonight!"


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