The Little Prince and the Aviator

Closed during Broadway previews (1981)

Trivia & History

Just before the first preview, Jerry Adler eplaced Robert Kalfin as director, and Billy Wilson replaced Dania Krupska as choreographer.

In addition, the actor originally cast as the Little Prince, Jonathan Ward, was replaced by his understudy, Anthony Rapp, during rehearsals. Ward then became the understudy.

For some reason, in the playbill's list of musical numbers, the characters listed as performing the last song in each act were separated by slashes. For all the other songs performed by more than one character, commas were used. We have followed the playbill's use of slashes in our list of musical numbers. Perhaps there was some specific reason for it.

There has some uncertainty about the date on which previews started. Some onine sources report the date as having been December 26, 1981, and Variety also reported that as having been the date. The Best Plays of 1981-1982 gives the date as January 1, 1982., and so did an article in the New York Times dated January 20, 1982. Yet an article that appeared in the Times on December 31, 1981, stated that the first performance would be that evening. 

Seeming to settle the matter is that ads in the Times and other New York-area newspapers show December 31 as the date of the first preview. On December 30, the ads stated that the first preview would be on the following evening,. On December 31, the ads indicated that there would be a preview that evening.

Also somewhat uncertain is how many preview performances were played. While some sources state that there were 20, it seems likely, based on what was advertised in daily ads in local newspapers, that there were 21. No articles that we have found from the time suggest that any performances were canceled during the time that the show was actually performing. Still, it's possible that a preview was canceled with nothing about a cancelation having been mentioned in the daily papers so perhaps it was 20.

The production had been announced to open on January 20, 1982. but money ran out and performances were suspended after the performance on January 17. Producer Joseph Tandet tried to reschedule the opening for January 24, but he was not able to raise the money needed to resume performances.

Tandet contended that during previews, the Nederlander Organization, which owned the theatre in which the show was playing, increased the amount of the advance that it demanded against rent for the theatre from $50,000 a week to $90,000. Tandet also contended, the organization posted its own closing notice at the theatre, "effectively terminating the management of the house and the payment of the musicians in the show." Tandet filed suit against the Nederlander Organization, which contended that the production was terminated because it was in breach of the contract. When the lawsuit finally came to trial in 1986, the Nederlander Organization lost.

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