Wall Street applauds as Enron the play dies on Broadway

Enron the play goes the way of Enron the company
Enron the play goes the way of Enron the company

Last week, Enron, the play, opened on Broadway. The $3.9 million play, a Kafkaesque retelling of the feats of ego and creative accounting that led to the largest corporate collapse in the history of the universe, was an import from London, where it has been successfully running for months. But on Sunday, Enron will die for a second time.

Here, it will have played just 16 performances since it opened to critics. Its spectacular failure can't be blamed on its critical reception, which was mostly mixed but hardly scathing. In fact, it earned four Tony nominations (none in a major category) this week. But even if it wins, it won't live to see the awards ceremony.

What went wrong? The British press has hinted the cause might be xenophobia (the playwright and director are both British). That doesn't ring true because most audience members wouldn't have known its origins. And even the Houston Chronicle, the paper at ground zero of the company's implosion of greed, called it "superbly acted and ably directed." The nominations seem to prove it isn't a matter of talent. Instead, it's a matter of taste.