January is upon us! Though it’s a time of new beginnings and resolutions for some, it’s a sad time on the Great White Way as we lose a slew of shows. Dubbed “Black January,” it’s the period following the holiday season where a cluster of productions end their run on Broadway. This year’s line-up included Big Fish (December 29), Annie (January 5), First Date (January 5), Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark (January 5), and off-Broadway’s Peter and the Starcatcher (January 12). Though this makes room for new productions to open, the blow of losing a favorite show still hurts. As someone who has said goodbye to several favorite shows during this time, I’ve complied a list of ways to cope:
1. If you can, go see the show for a final time. It’s hard to explain the specific feeling, but seeing a show and knowing you won’t be able to see the production again makes the experience more special and heartfelt. Final performances have incredible and bittersweet energy onstage, backstage, and in the audience.
2. Have the tissues on standby and cry. It’s like saying goodbye to a friend that’s moving far away and you’ll never know if you’ll see them again. It’s like breaking up in a romantic relationship. It feels like a sudden blow, even if you saw it coming, but releasing your feelings will help you feel better about the situation.
3. When you feel sad, surrounding yourself with comforting things tends to make you feel better. Whether it’s your favorite spot on the couch, a run around the neighborhood, sitting in the seat to see another favorite show, or sitting at a table at Schmackary’s, doing things that make you feel better will make your sadness drift away for the time being.
4. Sometimes goodbyes aren’t forever, as some shows go on to tour the country. Though it won’t be in the same venue or city, you can still get Broadway-level talent and a similar (if not the same) production design and team. So start putting the money you’d spend on seeing your favorite show into train tickets, gas fare, bus tickets, plane tickets, a passport, etc. to see it elsewhere (been there, done that).
5. The cliche states “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” You cried already (#2), but now you can look back and remember all of the wonderful memories this show gave you. You can relive that moment you fell in love with the music, the characters, the story. You look back at your stage door pictures, notice how bright your smile is, how happy you are. You go to message a friend who you met through your love of the show. This show has made a positive impact on your life, taught you valuable lessons — the best thing you can do to honor its memory is carry those things into your life.
6. Look ahead. Despite the sadness of closing a show, it only means a new one will take its place! Actors you’ve grown to love are talented, they’ll book other jobs and get to show versatility. Who knows, you may find another show to add to your growing list of favorites.
Is one of your favorite shows closing this month? Let us know (and grieve with us) in the comments!