'Nick & Nora' cancels engagement at Mechanic


"Nick & Nora," the musical that was to have played its exclusive pre-Broadway run at the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre this spring, has canceled its Baltimore engagement and postponed its Broadway opening until next season.

Producer James Pentecost said yesterday that he and his partner, Charles Suisman, came within $1 million of raising the $5.5 million budget. "We came very close, but it wasn't close enough to be able to do it properly this season," he said, laying blame on the "terrible state" of the economy.

A disappointed Hope Quackenbush, managing director of the Mechanic, commented, "It doesn't bode well for future new productions if a show with this particular group of artists and this marvelous potential falls short of its capitalization."

One of the most anticipated new American musicals this season, "Nick & Nora" is based on Dashiell Hammett's "The Thin Man" and has music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr. and a book by Arthur Laurents. It was to star Barry Bostwick and Joanna Gleason. Last month the producers postponed its Baltimore opening from December to spring due to funding problems.

Mrs. Quackenbush said she expects to announce a replacement later this month. -- probably a straight play "that could be a tryout." Although Mr. Pentecost expressed continued interest in having "Nick & Nora" try out in Baltimore, Mrs. Quackenbush said she would consider re-booking it next season only if "all of the factors [were] completely in place."

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