After Tiff With NYT, a New Broadway Show to Close

Producers of 'KPOP,' first Broadway play about Koreans by Koreans, cite 'casual racism' in review
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2022 7:19 AM CST
New Broadway Show Announces 'Unusually Abrupt' Closing
This image shows Kevin Woo, center, and the cast during a performance of "KPOP," which opened Nov. 27 at the Circle in the Square Theatre in New York.   (Matthew Murphy/DKC/O and M via AP)

Sunday is the last day to catch KPOP on the Great White Way, per an announcement of what Playbill calls an "unusually abrupt" closing. The musical, which opened Nov. 27 at Manhattan's Circle in the Square Theatre, tells the story of a group of Korean pop superstars who face down personal struggles as they prepare for a special one-night-only concert. It's the first Broadway production to center on Korean stories written by Korean Americans, and its cast members are all members of the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, or AAPI, community.

Show producer Joey Parnes concedes that the show, which will have played just 44 previews and 17 performances by the time it wraps this weekend, had issues from the start in attracting an audience, per the Hollywood Reporter, which notes that the musical typically made less than $200,000 a week—among the lowest intakes in the industry. But Parnes and producer Tim Forbes also recently slammed a negative New York Times review of KPOP by critic Jesse Green, citing "cultural insensitivity, underlying ignorance of and distaste for K-pop as a genre, and what comes across as casual racism in his review."

The Times has since responded, on the side of Green: In a statement to Playbill, the paper's comms team notes that after "[convening] a discussion among editors and members of our standards department," the group found "Jesse's review was fair" and that "we wholly disagree with the argument that Jesse's criticism is somehow racist." The final show on Sunday will be dedicated to the AAPI community. Potential theatergoers who may be upset at the show's demise still have something to look forward to: An original cast album from the show will drop on Feb. 24. (More Broadway stories.)

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