Sandy Duncan might be one of the most well-known Peter Pans to date, but the actress decided to bid an abrupt farewell to Broadway’s Peter Pan prequel Finding Neverland.
According to the New York Daily News, Sandy Duncan was originally slated to replace Carolee Carmello, who played Mrs. du Maurier. It sounded like dream casting, since there’s such a sense of nostalgia attached to Sandy Duncan, but it was very short-lived. After only five performances, Duncan has decided to drop out of the show very abruptly.
The whole cast was in attendance when Duncan announced that she had decided to leave the Broadway show. The show has decided to release a statement in regard to Duncan’s absence. It has taken the stance that Sandy’s absence is “temporary due to family obligations.”
That said, a source told the New York Daily News that this isn’t temporary.
“The company adored Sandy and supported her and she was doing her best, but she struggled with her lines and her blocking. It was frustrating for everyone. She quit.”
If this is true, it’s understandable that Finding Neverland would say she’s tending to a family obligation, instead of embarrassing the performer who played Peter Pan during numerous tours in the 1980s.
— broadway.com (@broadwaycom) February 17, 2016
From the looks of it, some fans are not taking Sandy Duncan’s absence well.
OMG are u kidding me!! Now Sandy Duncan is not on Finding Neverland… https://t.co/GygoJpji5W
— Nathaly Cisneros (@Nathaly_Cisnero) February 17, 2016
I can’t believe I saw Sandy Duncan’s final performance in Finding Neverland
— Hayley Goldstein (@HG_Shenanigans) February 17, 2016
@broadway_buzz oh no. I hope everything is alright
— will mann (@WillSingForFood) February 17, 2016
Despite the recent bout of unfortunate drama with Duncan pulling out of the show, Finding Neverland has been a humongous success thanks to Glee’s Matthew Morrison, who returned to Broadway after years of being in Los Angeles taping the hit FOX show.
Back in March, the New York Post reported that the box office for the show was doing very well. The Broadway show hit $1 million in gross by last March. That said, the show dipped in box office revenue, with a low of $652,542 during the week of November 1, but it has rebounded from the slow week and grossed around $867,000 for the Thanksgiving holiday week.
Despite that, the Tonys decided to snub Finding Neverland, which is a big disappointment for producer Harvey Weinstein, who has amazing success during Oscar season. It doesn’t look like he’s been able to crack into the theater world as far as awards go.
Although it should be noted that not all was lost for Weinstein.
He told the Hollywood Reporter, “With 27 nominations today for Fun Home, The Elephant Man, The Audience and Wolf Hall, shows that we either co-invested or co-produced, we couldn’t be more thrilled. As for Finding Neverland, our passion for it remains unwavering. I could not be more proud of the magic created on our stage by Diane Paulus and the entire Neverland team night after night, which has made this show a smash hit.”
— TDoug (@TDougNews) January 26, 2016
Lead Matthew Morrison, who originated the role of J.M. Barrie, a British playwright, left the show on January 24.
As for Sandy Duncan, prior to her role in Finding Neverland, she was in Chicago in 1999 as Roxie Hart. Other than that, she’s appeared on a slew of TV shows including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Yo Gabba Gabba!, and Law & Order.
What do you think of Sandy Duncan leaving Finding Neverland after a few performances?
[Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images]