Kathie Lee Gifford's 'Scandalous' to Close Due To Poor Ticket Sales

By O'Jay Burgess | Dec 05, 2012 10:24 AM EST

Kathie Lee Gifford's "Scandalous," is set to close after a rough reception on Broadway, the New York Times reports.

Gifford's show was based on the life of evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson will close on Sunday after 31 preview performances and 29 regular performances, producers announced Tuesday night.

Sales for the Gifford piece were so weak, two of its producers, Dick and Betsy DeVos, of the Amway family fortune, agreed last week to underwrite the show's financial losses after its standard financial reserve had been depleted according to The Times.

The show, which debuted on Nov. 15 and starred Tony Award winning Broadway veteran Carolee Carmello, cost $9 million to recreate on the big stage. All accounts predict the piece will close at a loss. The low ticket sales doomed the play from the start and suffered more when critics lambasted Gifford as she tried to revive the lively Canadian minister.

Steven Suskin of Variety wrote:  

"Scandalous" is another big-budget, evangelist-with-feet-of-clay tale from the hinterlands, and despite various prior incarnations, it looks woefully out of place on a Broadway stage."

David Cote of Time Out New York wrote:

"I have seen worse shows than Scandalous (Good Vibrations and The Pirate Queen were more painful to sit through), but few as wild-eyed and zealously wrongheaded. Carolee Carmello's strident, belt-first-ask-questions-later approach to McPherson leaves very little room for subtlety or growth. David Pomeranz and David Friedman's score is a facile pastiche of gospel, jazz and show tunes further weakened by Gifford's flat, often corny lyrics."

Gifford spent just over a decade writing a book about the Canadian evangelist McPherson and based "Scandalous," on the publication. McPherson was an outspoken Christian minister whose excesses drove her to pervert her image as a woman of God. The evangelist had an extra material affair and noted substance abuse issues.

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