Paula Vogel Play Announced Closing, Then Revoked It
On Sunday, August 6, 2017, Indecent will play the final performance of its Broadway premiere run. The show had begun previews on April 4, 2017, ahead of an opening night on April 18, 2017. Directed by Rebecca Taichman, this play is written by Paula Vogel, the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright of such works as How I Learned to Drive, And Baby Makes Seven, and The Oldest Profession. While Vogel has garnered countless honors and taught playwriting at prestigious universities such as Yale and Brown, it took until now for her work to be seen on Broadway. Following tryout runs at the Yale Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, and the Vineyard Theatre, Indecent came to the Cort Theatre on Broadway to the delight of Vogel’s small but passionate fanbase. The show was nominated for three Tony Awards including Best Play, winning two: Best Director for Rebecca Taichman, and Best Lighting Design for Christopher Akerlind. Nevertheless, low grosses made the show’s future look dire, and the closing notice was announced for June 25, 2017. At the announcement of this decision, an outpouring of support arose from press, social media, and ticketbuyers. Advance grosses began to climb, and an essentially unprecedented phenomenon occurred: the producer Daryl Roth revoked the closing notice, and the show was re-extended to August 6, 2017.
Among the reported box office weeks thus far, which includes all but this present final week, the highest weekly gross took place in the week ending June 25, 2017, which was the week for which the early closing was initially announced. It seems that upon hearing that week was to be the last, many fans bought tickets for that week, and that despite the reassured celebration that took place upon the re-extension, box office grosses never climbed to levels where profits would be even within sight. In the week ending June 25, 2017, the weekly box office gross was $606,137, which represents 65.66% of its gross potential. The following week, the week ending July 2, 2017, the box office gross was $313,029, or 33.91% of its gross potential. In the last week of reported figures, the week ending July 30, 2017, the weekly gross was $533,355, or 57.78% of gross potential. Over the course of the run thus far, the average percentage reached of gross potential has been just 35.47%. While this is an improvement from the first month of performances, when grosses were in the realm of 20% of gross potential, it is still not a commercially successful production.
Next to the Guthrie Theater and On-Demand at Broadway HD
While the Broadway production ultimately did need to close, the show will now go on the road – not only to regional theatres, but also to the internet through the on-demand streaming service, BroadwayHD. The show will also soon be available for licensing for amateur productions, and between that and the regional productions that will certainly take place in the decade to come, there will be more revenue yet for the producers, even though the Broadway production certainly didn’t break even. Next up for a professionally produced production is the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota, directed by Wendy C. Goldberg, the artistic director of the Guthrie. It will be at that theater’s Wurtele Thrust Stage from February 17, 2018 to March 24, 2018. This will mark its fourth regional production, but the first directed by someone other than Rebecca Taichman. In addition, the Broadway production will be available for streaming online through BroadwayHD in January 2018, timed to coincide with International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Last night’s performance on Thursday, August 3, 2017 was taped for this purpose, and the broadcast was directed by David Horn. Therefore, Indecent will have many more opportunities to find its audience beyond the Broadway run, which concludes on Sunday, August 6, 2017.
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