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‘Helldrivers of Daytona’ racing musical hits wall after just one performance


One and done. A black flag rather than a checkered flag. No victory lane. No celebratory burnout.

That sums up the brief history of “Helldrivers of Daytona,” a stock car racing-themed musical that closed after just one night at Chicago’s Royal George Theatre.

Set at the 1965 “Daytona Speedway Jackpot 500,” the musical was based on a book by Emmy Award winner Mark Saltzman, with music by Berton Averre, former lead guitarist of The Knack, who co-wrote the group’s biggest hit, “My Sharona.”

But the “pre-Broadway” billed musical hit the wall after a number of negative reviews. After opening night on Monday, producers then decided to cancel all future performances, even though the show was set to run through Oct. 30.

“We are disappointed by the critical response, but we knew that it was a risky endeavor,” producers Richard Friedman, Natasha Davison and Rachel James said in an email to media, according to The Chicago Tribune.

The producers said they will “evaluate how we might make changes for future productions of the musical. ... The actors were told last night and the production will have no further performances at this time.”

MORE: In Chicago for Chase opener? Check out ‘Helldrivers of Daytona’ musical

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