If further proof was needed that Sydney is a tough market to launch theatrical productions, then the company behind Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is the latest example.
The show won best musical and best actor in a musical at last year's Sydney Theatre Awards and was lauded in reviews.
But it failed to attract big audiences over its eight-week season at the Theatre Royal.
In late January, the show's producer, 31-year-old newcomer to the Australian scene George Youakim, sent a letter to contractors who were owed money, saying the company could not meet its debts and it would be handed to a liquidator.
Advertisement''The liquidation process should begin in February, and it is hoped that accounts will be settled as quickly as possible following the signing over of the company to the liquidator,'' Mr Youakim said in a letter.
''Once the company has been signed over, the liquidator will reach out to the creditor and inform you of the process and the estimated payment term and date.''
Mr Youakim said all wages had been paid to the actors and crew, but that some contractors and suppliers were owed money.
''The company has not been placed in liquidation yet,'' Mr Youakim said. ''I am still looking at other alternatives to meet the debt.''
Mr Youakim, who studied musical theatre in New York, had hoped to take Dirty Rotten Scoundrels to Melbourne, which seems to have a more receptive audience for musicals. Jill Hewitt, from Moneypenny, which served as the production accountant, said several shows had struggled in Sydney in recent years.
''Sydney just doesn't spend on theatre tickets the way Melbourne does,'' she said.
A technical director on the show, Greg Yates, said he was owed thousands of dollars for out-of-pocket expenses. ''Once bitten, twice shy,'' he said.