The Broadway production of "King Lear" starring Glenda Jackson will close a month early.
Producer Scott Rudin announced that the show at the Cort Theater will have its final performance on June 9, The New York Times reported. The production had been scheduled to end on July 7.
The closure comes a year after the 83-year-old Jackson won her first Tony Award, given for her performance in Edward Albee's "Three Women."
First appearing on Broadway in the 1960s production of "Marat/Sade," the two-time Academy Award winner Jackson has been a favorite of New York critics and audiences.
Even Jackson's immense star power couldn't save a troubled production. Director Sam Gold's innovative interpretation of Shakespeare's 400-year-old tragedy received mixed reviews.
Nor did Jackson draw raves for her portrayal of Lear. She shockingly failed to receive a Tony nomination, with Ruth Wilson's dual performance as the Fool and Cordelia receiving the production's sole nomination.
Wilson's work fulfills a fascinating theory by some scholars that Shakespeare saw the characters as the same person. Both possess a pure love for the mentally failing king, and confront him with searing but healing truth.
London audiences were more receptive to a woman playing Shakespeare's most complex role. Jackson was lauded for her performance as the tormented king in director Deborah Warner's hit production at the Old Vic.
Lear is riven by masculine conflicts of pride, loss of authority and the waning of strength and sexual potency. I assume that Jackson portrays Lear as a primarily male figure, "every inch a king." The gender shouldn't matter. What counts is acting ability.
Gender is one of Shakespeare's major obsessions. Until the era of Charles II, boys played female roles. In "As You Like It" and other plays,women disguise themselves as men, exploring the comedy that rises from the confusion of mixed identities. Rather than radical, Jackson's performance continues Shakespeare traditions.
Shakespeare tragedies have been popular on Broadway, even in the recent past. Gold's production sounds difficult for audience comprehension, but the chance to see a great actress perform the theater's greatest role should be irresistible for theater-goers. The fizzling of Lear on Broadway is a troubling sign of cultural deterioration and the desire for unchallenging escapist entertainment.