Cynthia Nixon and Laura Linney Trade Off Lead Parts
The Little Foxes is now up and running at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, where it has been playing since the first preview on March 29, 2017. Upon the show’s opening night, it received rave reviews from all critics in the major press outlets. This play was written by Lillian Hellman and first premiered in 1939, and has since been revived on Broadway in 1967, 1981, 1997, and the present 2017 revival. This revival is unique, however, in that the two leading ladies – Cynthia Nixon and Laura Linney – take turns playing the two main female parts. On opening night, Laura Linney played Regina Giddens, and Cynthia Nixon played Birdie Hubbard, but in general the two take turns on designated performances, so audience members can take their pick of who they prefer to see in the bigger part of Regina. Still, both parts allow the women to demonstrate their immense and versatile talents. The play is directed by Daniel Sullivan, whose previous Broadway directing credits include Sylvia, The Country House, The Snow Geese, Orphans, and many more productions, often for the Manhattan Theatre Club. Laura Linney has previously appeared on Broadway in such shows as Time Stands Still, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Sight Unseen, The Crucible, and Uncle Vanya, and Cynthia Nixon, while probably best known for portraying Miranda on the HBO series “Sex and the City,” has also appeared on Broadway numerous times, including in The Real Thing, Wit, Rabbit Hole, and The Women.
Upon viewing the show in the performances leading up to opening night, Alexis Soloski of The New York Times called the production nimble and exhilarating, relishing in the devious behavior of the lead character, Regina Giddens. Matt Windman of AM New York was also a big fan of the revival, contrasting the two delicious roles portrayed in turn by Nixon and Linney, one being the delicate wife who is treated cruelly and turns to drink, and the other being the self-centered sister-in-law who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. David Cote from Time Out New York was equally enamored with the show, relishing in both the lusty and rapacious role of Regina, as well as the cowed and kindly role of Birdie. Linda Winer from Newsday put this production of The Little Foxes up on a pedestal as an example of why not-for-profit theatre must co-exist alongside the more commercial fare on Broadway, exclaiming that the alternating roles is good reason to see the show twice. Finally, Jeremy Gerard from Deadline was also a huge proponent of this production, calling it a nasty, tasty snakepit, and remarking how the role of Regina Giddens has always been an irresistible role for great actresses, ever since Tallulah Bankhead originated the role in 1939.
Box Office Shows Room for Improvement
Despite the unanimously positive reviews, there is still room for growth in terms of box office for The Little Foxes. In the last reported week of box office figures, the week ending May 7, 2017, the show brought in a weekly gross of $456,576, which represents 53.76% of its gross potential. While this is by no means remarkable, it is also the highest weekly gross the show has had to date in its run. Presumably egged on by the positive reviews, theatregoers are still far from lining up around the block to see this revival. Across the six weeks the show has been running thus far, the average percentage reached of gross potential has been 49.04%, and the average ticket price has been $74.38, with a top ticket price of $164.50 on average. Meanwhile, the show has been nominated for six Tony Awards, including those for Best Revival of a Play, Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Play for Laura Linney, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play for Richard Thomas, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for Cynthia Nixon, Best Costume Design of a Play, and Best Direction of a Play for Daniel Sullivan.
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