Diane Lane Starred in Poorly Reviewed Revival
This past week, The Cherry Orchard played its final performance on Broadway. It had been running at the American Airlines Theatre since its first preview on September 15, 2016, and the official opening night took place on October 16, 2016. The run was short by design, and upon conclusion of the production, it had played only 57 performances on top of 35 preview performances. Nevertheless, the show might not have been able to hold on much longer. Upon its opening night, the production was reviewed very poorly, despite being a bona fide classic of Russian drama that has seen many successful revivals in the past. This masterpiece by Anton Chekhov played its first Broadway production in 1923, and it has since seen 16 productions, including this most recent revival. It is common for established and up-and-coming playwrights to try their hand at adapting classic works such as The Cherry Orchard, and in this case, the adaptation was written by Stephen Karam, the young playwright new to the scene who wrote the Tony Award winning play The Humans, as well as the Off-Broadway hits Sons of the Prophet and Speech & Debate. Therefore, it was all the more disappointing when his attempt at adapting Chekhov did not go over very well. It is all the more disappointing in light of the outstanding cast of the show, including Diane Lane in the role of Ranevskaya, Lyubov Andreyevna.
The blame for the poor reception of this production is unclear, but perhaps it is due mostly to the confused direction of Simon Godwin, a British director making his Broadway debut with this production. Ben Brantley of The New York Times stated that the end of the production was most welcome, and David Cote from Time Out New York remarks that the production contains distinctly bizarre touches. However, he also remarks that Diane Lane suffers beautifully in the show, implying that her performance was not to blame for the poor reviews. Lane actually came full circle with this production, as she played a different role in the 1977 production of The Cherry Orchard as a child. However, this return to Broadway may have been a bit disappointing to her, given the flop status. David Rooney of the Hollywood Reporter remarked that the production was highly anticipated given the excellent creatives and cast involved, but then he succinctly explained that it makes the thudding failure of this show all the more disappointing. In addition to Diane Lane, the play had a stellar cast including Chuck Cooper as Simeonov-Pischik, Boris Borisovich, Tavi Gevinson as Anya, John Glover as Gaev, Leonid Andreyevich, Joel Grey as Firs, and Celia Keenan-Bolger as Varya.
Poor Box Office to Match the Poor Reviews
In this Roundabout Theatre Company production, the box office corresponded to the negative reviews. Over the 11 and a half week run, the show brought in a total gross of $3,899,478, which represented an average of 49.02% of its gross potential across the run. The highest weekly gross occurred in the final week of the run, bringing in just $384,179 over eight performances, which represented 54.31% of the show’s gross potential. With a top ticket price of $252.00, the average paid admission throughout the run was $70.20, and the audience was filled up to an average of 83.23% of its capacity. Therefore, this show did not reach anywhere near enough of its box office potential in order to recoup the initial capitalization. In sum, the show will go down in history as an unsuccessful revival of a classic, in an adaptation that may never become the new standard English translation, but perhaps will continue to be performed in more productions around the country.
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