The new production of Lyle Kessler’s play Orphans closes at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre today. The play, which officially opened on April 18, ends its run early, having played only a total of 64 performances.
Orphans starred Ben Foster and Tom Sturridge as orphaned brothers living in a decrepit North Philadelphia row house, with the elder brother supporting himself and his sheltered sibling by committing petty crimes. When he tries to kidnap a rich business man (played by Alec Baldwin), both brothers are surprised to find themselves with a new father figure of sorts.
From early in its rehearsal process, Orphans was making headlines due to reported difficulties relating to the production’s original star, popular movie actor Shia LeBeouf (Transformers). LeBeouf, who was let go from the production during rehearsals, publicized private email conversations that he had had with co-star Alec Baldwin and director Daniel Sullivan via his Twitter account. The young actor was quickly replaced with Ben Foster, and the production’s first preview was delayed a week.
Though most of the press about Orphans centered around Alec Baldwin, Shia LeBeouf, and replacement Ben Foster (who has been active in independent film for several years), Tom Sturridge ended up being the play’s breakout star, earning a Tony Award nomination for his performance.
Acclaimed young actor Shia LaBeouf (Lawless, Transformers) will make his Broadway debut in the Spring of 2013 in a production of Lyle Kessler’s play Orphans. He will be starring alongside Alec Baldwin (TV’s 30 Rock), who is appearing on Broadway for the first time since 2004, when he was in Twentieth Century.
In the play, Shia LaBeouf will play the role of Treat, the eldest of two orphaned brothers living in an old Philadelphia row house and getting by through thievery. When Treat escalates his criminal activity to kidnapping, the rich man (played by Alec Baldwin) that he kidnaps ends up becoming the father figure that the boys have always wanted.
Under the direction of Daniel Sullivan (Glengarry Glen Ross), Orphans will start previews at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on March 19, 2013, with opening night set for April 7.
The film version of the highly successful Broadway musical Rock of Ages opened this past weekend to disappointing box office sales and tepid reviews. Featuring a star-filled cast and a slew of beloved ’80s hair-band hits like “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Wanted Dead or Alive”, Rock of Ages seemed poised to do well, but when all was said and done, the hard-rocking movie only placed #3 at the box office, bringing in less than $15 million in ticket sales.
The exact reason for Rock of Ages‘ lackluster performance is hard to pinpoint. Some of the reviews felt the Rock of Ages movie failed to capture the silly fun and hard rock spirit of the Broadway show version (and of course the film couldn’t possibly duplicate the concert-like feel of a live show). The movie advertisements, which emphasize the more famous cast members (Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, etc.), are also rather misleading, since the main characters are actually played by relative unknowns. Some moviegoers may have also simply thought that the movie looked a bit too cheesy for their tastes (Alec Baldwin in a ratty-looking long wig can’t be helping matters on that front).
Perhaps the real question is whether or not ’80s music has as much mass appeal anymore, particularly to the largest movie-going demographic, young men. It’s more likely that their parents are the ones who hold a strong affection for ’80s hair metal, which would explain why Rock of Ages is a bigger success on Broadway (where middle-aged ticket buyers rule) than in movie theaters (which is more the domain of young people).