(Dominic Cavendish’s article appeared in the Telegraph, 11/24.)
1 Carrie (1988)
This atrocious adaptation of Stephen King's novel – taken by the Royal Shakespeare Company to Broadway where it folded after 21 performances – remains the primus inter pares of the musical flop. King's story of a menstruating schoolgirl with telekenetic powers and a mad religious mother was served up with a ghastly gloop of rock-pop and fake blood. It was hailed as "a resounding mistake" in England and duly went on to be ferociously panned in New York, losing a neat $8 million.
2 Which Witch (1992)
The brainchild of Benedicte Adrian and Ingrid Bjornov – members of Norwegian pop group Dollie Deluxe – this "opera-musical" was a cod 16th-century tale of thwarted passion that culminated in the young Italian heroine being burnt at the stake as a witch. King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway visited the Piccadilly Theatre to lend their support to "the most heavily panned London stage musical in a generation" – but it folded after 10 weeks. "Flops don't come much floppier," said the Telegraph. Nul points.