Political Drama Completes 17-Week Run at Lincoln Center
On this upcoming Sunday, July 16, 2017, Oslo will play the final performance of its premiere run at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre on the Lincoln Center campus. The show had its world premiere last summer at Lincoln Center’s Off-Broadway house, the Mitzi Newhouse Theater, winning the 2017 Obie Award for Best New American Theatre Work. Later that year, after the show had transferred to the Vivian Beaumont, the play then took home the greatest honor of a Broadway play, the Tony Award for Best Play. Written by J.T. Rogers, the play was directed by Bartlett Sher, and stars Michael Aronov, Anthony Azizi, Adam Dannheisser, Jennifer Ehle, Daniel Jenkins, Dariush Kashani, Jeb Kreager, Jefferson Mays, Christopher McHale, Daniel Oreskes, Angela Pierce, Henny Russell, Joseph Siravo, T. Ryder Smith, and Jeff Still. In addition to the Tony for Best Play, Oslo also earned another win for Michael Aronov, who took home the award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play.
Despite wide acclaim and awards recognition, Oslo never sold out its run. While the show was a favorite with critics and voters, audiences were a tougher sell, due to the long 3-hour runtime. In addition, the serious nature of the material may have been a deterrent, when fluffier fare lined the streets of the theatre district. Furthermore, while the subject matter is certainly a reflection of our current political times, it is not about contemporary issues; rather, the show concerns the Oslo Peace Accords, which were a pivotal series of agreements regarding Middle Eastern relations in the 1990s. In this highly divisive political climate, theatregoers are more in the mood to distract themselves from serious topics, rather than immerse themselves in an intensive, if extremely well executed and dramatized, lesson from history. Of the box office figures reported thus far, which includes every week but this final week, the average percentage reached of gross potential amounts to 59.48%, and the average paid ticket price is $86.30, with a top ticket price averaging out to $218.13. The audience capacity has been filled up on average to 88.66% throughout the run thus far. In the week after the Tony Awards, the show saw its biggest spike in one week since it began performances; that week, it went up by $147,634 to reach a weekly gross of $808,195, the highest gross of the run so far. While this show will not be remembered as profitable, it has certainly had a successful run.
Film Adaptation in the Works
The playwright J.T. Rogers is attached to write the screenplay adaptation of Oslo, which will be produced by Marc Platt, whose credits include Bridge of Spies, Wicked, and La La Land. The film may expand upon the events covered in the play, going into even greater detail about the fascinating period of time. While the Broadway production will have left New York, regional productions of Oslo will surely pop up around the country in the next few years, and the show will continue to have a long life of revivals as amateur productions, as well as a remarkable script to be studied by students of acting and playwriting. As a follow-up to his highly acclaimed Blood and Gifts, J.T. Rogers has bestowed upon the canon of contemporary American writing an unparalleled contribution.
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