Strong Contender for Tony Awards Consideration
On January 29, 2017, The Front Page concluded its run that had begun on September 20, 2016, with an opening night on October 20, 2016. Starring Nathan Lane, John Goodman, John Slattery, Sherie Rene Scott, and Holland Taylor, this play took audiences and critics by storm, earning great reviews and recouping its initial capitalization by the fifteenth week of the run. With direction by Jack O’Brien, the show was a smash hit, and the unstoppable cast was a major asset to woo audience members to the theatre to see a classic comedy about the newspaper business. Set in Chicago in the Criminal Courts Building in late 1928, The Front Page is the story of Hildy Johnson (John Slattery), a star newspaper reporter who accidentally encounters an escaped prison that is the hot buzz at the office, and ends up becoming his confidante as he learns of his innocence, pitting him against his coworkers in conspiring with his editor, Walter Burns (Nathan Lane). This show is sure to earn a number of Tony Award nominations, as the ensemble received great acclaim throughout the hit run.
While the play announced recoupment in early January, the best week of the run took place in the week ending October 16, 2016, at the tail end of previews. That week, the show brought in $1,278,807, which represents 100.49% of its gross potential, and the average paid ticket was $134.51. The official opening night took place on October 20, 2016, and while every other Broadway show adopts the practice of inviting critics to previews in the week or two prior to opening night, the producers of The Front Page decided to stick with the traditional custom of inviting critics on opening night itself, allowing expectation to build throughout previews, and holding curtain at an earlier hour to allow the critics to write their reviews that evening after the show. While demand remained strong through the duration of 2016, the final month of the run proved to be the slowest, which is natural given that January is generally one of the slowest months of the year. In its final week of performances, the week ending January 29, 2017, The Front Page brought in $1,073,605, which represents 80.54% of the show’s gross potential, and the average paid ticket was $113.39. These numbers are still quite good, and the show is likely to have brought in a profit that while modest, will at least allow the investors to enter the black, a feat that is all too rare on Broadway, especially with straight plays.
Jack O’Brien’s Next Play is “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”
Following his success with The Front Page, the director Jack O’Brien will next tackle Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which will begin previews on March 28, 2017 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, starring Christian Borle as Willy Wonka. The role of Charlie Bucket will be played by Jake Ryan Flynn in his Broadway debut. As for the producer Scott Rudin, he continues to have his hands full with a strong slate of shows entering the new season. First up for Rudin is a revival of The Glass Menagerie starring Sally Field and Joe Mantello, followed by Hello, Dolly! starring Bette Midler, A Doll’s House, Part 2 starring Laurie Metcalf, Jayne Houdyshell, Chris Cooper, and Condola Rashad, and 1984 the cast for which is yet to be announced. As evidenced by The Front Page, Rudin is masterful at packaging solid revivals with excellent cast and a strong sense of creative leadership.