- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A taxpayer-funded musical on climate change is closing its curtains early amid a storm of criticism from reviewers and lawmakers.

“The Great Immensity,” produced by Brooklyn-based theater company The Civilians Inc. with a $700,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), has ended its run after reaching just 5 percent of its anticipated audience, Fox News reported.

The play also opened a year late and failed to produce a buzz once it did.

“Despite fine performances, the musical mystery tour is an uneasy mix of fact and credulity-stretching fiction. It’s neither flora nor fauna,” New York Daily News reviewer Joe Dziemianowicz wrote in a review at the time, Fox News reported. “[The] songs — whether about a doomed passenger pigeon or storm-wrecked towns — feel shoehorned in and not, pardon the pun, organic.”

The play’s description describes the itself as “a thrilling and timely production” with “a highly theatrical look into one of the most vital questions of our time: How can we change ourselves and our society in time to solve the enormous environmental challenges that confront us?”

“Even the best adventurers can wander off course, and the Civilians do so on a global scale in ‘The Great Immensity,’ ” read a review from Time Out New York. “The inventive troupe’s latest effort is all over the map. … It’s not easy preaching green.”

The play ran for three weeks in New York in April before going on a national tour. It stalled out after a single production in Kansas City, Fox News reported.

Rep. Lamar Smith — chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee — called the failed project a waste of public money.

“There is no doubt that ‘The Great Immensity’ was a great mistake,” the Texas Republican told Fox News. “The NSF used taxpayer dollars to underwrite political advocacy dressed up as a musical. And the project clearly failed to achieve any of its objectives.”

The NSF said it is too soon to tell if the grant funds were wasted.

“This particular project just concluded in August, and the final report has not yet been submitted to NSF,” it said in a statement, Fox News reported. “Final reports are due to NSF within 90 days following expiration of the grant. The final report will contain information about project outcomes, impacts and other data.”

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