Kathie Lee Gifford’s Broadway flop “Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson” turned out to be a horrible investment for the Echo Park, California church McPherson founded, the L.A. Times reports.
The Foursquare Church invested in the musical through its Foursquare Foundation charitable division, and though representatives wouldn’t say how much the foundation lost, unnamed clergy members said the losses totaled $2 million. McPherson founded the church 90 years ago.
“Scandalous” had been in development for years before it opened on Broadway, with productions premiering as far back as 2005. The Broadway production at the Neil Simon Theatre began previews October 13 of last year, opened November 15, 2012 and closed less than a month later on December 9.
Just after the show closed, the Foursquare Foundation’s executive director Greg Campbell left the church, and all but one of the foundation’s board members had previously been replaced, due in part to the apparently unpopular decision to invest in the musical.
“Many people took issue with the foundation’s narrow scope regarding evangelism, the difficulty of the grant process, and, most recently, the decision to invest in ‘Scandalous: The Life and Times of Aimee Semple McPherson,” said a church in a statement after the replacement of most of the board.
However, after Campbell left the foundation, another statement said that the “changes made to the Foursquare Foundation board of directors were also unrelated to the investment in the musical ‘Scandalous.’”
“Set in 1920’s Los Angeles, holiness collides with Hollywood in the extraordinary tale of one woman’s charismatic rise to fame amidst scandalous love affairs and growing controversy, inevitably ending in her much-publicized fall from grace,” wrote producers about the show.
The show opened to generally negative reviews, though the devastation of Hurricane Sandy on Broadway late last year also was listed as a reason for its closure.