“Mothers and Sons” To Close on June 22

Terrence McNally’s New Play Stars Tyne Daly

Mothers and Sons, a new play by Terrence McNally, has been running at Broadway’s Golden Theatre since February 23, 2014.  Starring Tyne Daly, a frequent McNally collaborator, this play opened on March 24, 2014 to fairly positive reviews.  The production was directed by Sheryl Kaller (Next Fall), produced by Tom Kirdahy and Roy Furman, and the cast also featured Bobby Steggert, Grayson Taylor, and Frederick Weller.  The play received two Tony Award nominations: Best Play, and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for Tyne Daly.  However, soon after the Tony Awards played out and Mothers and Sons did not win any honors, the announcement was made that the show will close on June 22, 2013, having played 104 performances and 33 previews.

Mothers and Sons Broadway Show tyne daly

Mothers and Sons Broadway Show

Next Season, McNally Returns with “It’s Only a Play”

McNally is one of the few living playwrights whose work has proved the test of time, with his new plays still consistently being produced on Broadway, irrespective of their star power or recognizable brand titles.  Mothers and Sons is McNally’s 20th Broadway show, marking the 50 year anniversary of his work being shown on Broadway.  This is by no means the end of his streak, however, as next season his play It’s Only a Play will be revived starring Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, F. Murray Abraham, Megan Mullally, and Micah Stock.  Directed by Jack O’Brien, that new production will begin previews in the fall at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, with an opening night set for October 9, 2014.  That is sure to be an exciting production, as it will reunite Lane and Broderick who co-starred in the celebrated 2001 Broadway hit The Producers, not to mention the rest of its stupendous cast and creative team.

Financial Woes

Mothers and Sons has been struggling financially for some time, never earning much more than 30% of its gross potential since it began performances.  With an average ticket price around $65, the production has been offering heavy discounts throughout its run.  In the week ending June 8, 2014, the show only grossed $197,920, which is only 25.79% of its gross potential, and it filled up to only 43.9% of its audience capacity.  It must have been holding out for the Tony Awards, and when it did not win any, it cut its losses and announced closing.

Critical Performance

Like many of McNally’s plays, Mothers and Sons deals with concepts of homosexuality and AIDS.  It is the story of Katharine Gerard (played by Tyne Daly), who lost her son to AIDS 20 years ago, and now decides to visit her son’s partner Cal (Frederick Weller), who has since married a man named Will (Bobby Steggert).  Ben Brantley of The New York Times was lukewarm in his review, opining that the play’s intellectual debate overshadowed its emotional effects.  Still, he commended Tyne Daly’s performance and the production for the unstated sorrow beneath the words.  Other reviewers, such as NBC New York, Time Out New York, and the Associated Press, all gave more positive reviews.  Still, the play was unable to compete in this difficult marketplace against much more crowd-pleasing titles.  Perhaps the next McNally show will fare better.

‘Mothers and Sons’ starring Tyne Daly opens on Broadway.

A Moving Tribute – Manhattan style

In Terrence McNally’s Mothers and Sons, Tyne Daly masterfully plays the lead as Katharine Gerard, a recently widowed woman who lost her only son Andre to AIDS 20 years ago.  In the opening scene, Katharine unexpectedly turns up at the Central Park West apartment of Andre’s former life partner, Cal Porter (played by Frederick Weller) .  Now alone in the world and still very much in denial about her son’s lifestyle choices, Katharine seeks solace from the one person closest to Andre prior to his untimely death.

Mothers and Sons Broadway Show tyne daly

It’s been nearly two decades since Katharine and Cal have last seen each other – at Andre’s funeral  – and the tension between them is palpable.  Katharine is resentful at Cal for taking her son away and living a lifestyle that she disapproves.  Cal is resentful at Katharine for shunning him at the funeral and refusing to acknowledge the pain he was suffering from losing Andre.

Secretly hoping that Cal has not moved on, Katharine instead finds that this once poor bohemian has become a successful money manager with a new husband (Bobby Steggert) and young son (Grayson Taylor).  Katharine cannot fathom why Cal’s life has improved so much since Andre’s death and hers has been in a steady decline.  She is angry and jealous.  They exchange bitter words.

And just when it appears these two couldn’t be further apart, secrets are revealed that not only highlight their similarities, but also brings them closer together.

The play pays tribute to the legions of gay men that were lost to the AIDS crisis in the late 20th century and shines a light on the pain of those who lived through this horrible epidemic.  When Katharine asks “When is someone going to write the next great American novel?”, Cal’s response is “It could have been Andre.”  It leaves you wondering what the world might have been like had this generation of bright and talented individuals survived.  This show is an obvious draw for gay couples from Chelsea, but should really seen by everyone because it’s a remembrance of a period in modern American history that has been largely overlooked.

Tyne Daly is believable in the role, at times you simultaneously want to hug her, shake some sense into her, and tell her she is not alone.  The subtle references to current New York City life and locations is a real treat and makes the story line even that much more enjoyable and believable.

Mothers and Sons is now playing at the Golden Theatre, located at 252 W. 45th Street in the heart of Manhattan’s theater district.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 3/09/2014

This weeks notable movements on Broadway are:

A RAISIN IN THE SUN OPENS IN PREVIEWS
Shot out of cannon is A Raisin In The Sun, which is only three performances in and already the sell-out show of the new season. Denzel Washington stars in this redo of the Broadway favorite which averaged $144.53 in its first three days of previews.

MOTHERS AND SONS
Tyne Daly in Mothers and Sons continues to draw audiences, but is upside down with 81% of seats sold, but with an average of only $45 per ticket price – putting it the bottom two shows on Broadway.

ROCK OF AGES
Following the close of Bronx Bombers and Machinal, Rock Of Ages has moved into the bottom three Broadway show slot, their first time at this position. Their average paid admission is up on last week though, so time will tell if this can be turned around with recent TV spots that were run on local New York TV stations.

JERSEY BOYS
The musical story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, helmed by Dodger Theatricals, that follows the rags-to-riches tale of four blue-collar kids working their way to stardom has struck a soft spot by only filling only 63.40% of their seats last week. It appears that their strategy is to keep their prices high and seats empty, which is a General Manager strategy that is likely to end with losses for investors. Once the darling of Broadway, Jersey Boys shows signs of wear and tear, by now finishing in the bottom ten position of all Broadway shows. This show may need a fresh management approach to reinvigorate ticket sales.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending March 9, 2014:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis 3/09/2014

Show GrossGross Total Attn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $409,353 5,306 73.13% $77.15
A RAISIN IN THE SUN $151,179 1,046 100.00% $144.53
AFTER MIDNIGHT $622,013 5,986 72.22% $103.91
ALADDIN $826,491 10,320 100.00% $80.09
ALL THE WAY $736,790 9,322 81.94% $79.04
BEAUTIFUL $847,672 7,140 86.99% $118.72
CHICAGO $520,320 6,604 76.44% $78.79
CINDERELLA $781,798 9,988 71.30% $78.27
IF/THEN $909,159 8,502 95.26% $106.93
JERSEY BOYS $600,488 6,228 63.40% $96.42
KINKY BOOTS $1,268,989 9,961 87.44% $127.40
LES MISÉRABLES $964,004 9,286 94.28% $103.81
MAMMA MIA! $603,731 7,642 81.93% $79.00
MATILDA $991,341 10,566 92.23% $93.82
MOTHERS AND SONS $235,662 5,200 81.05% $45.32
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $1,119,747 10,880 90.25% $102.92
NEWSIES $648,357 8,563 90.33% $75.72
NO MAN’S LAND/WAITING FOR GODOT $525,313 6,224 72.51% $84.40
ONCE $580,888 6,099 71.99% $95.24
OUTSIDE MULLINGAR $343,445 5,048 97.08% $68.04
PIPPIN $608,988 6,086 76.84% $100.06
ROCK OF AGES $299,674 3,730 79.97% $80.34
ROCKY $635,153 9,581 78.17% $66.29
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,583,887 8,752 102.63% $180.97
THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY $476,005 6,522 80.00% $72.98
THE LION KING $1,511,718 13,312 97.88% $113.56
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $809,460 10,326 80.42% $78.39
WICKED $1,667,093 14,782 97.35% $112.78
Totals: $21,278,718 223,002 84.75% $94.46

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League.
All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2014 nytix.com

Tyne Daly To Star in Mothers and Sons on Broadway

Tyne DalyThe new Terrence McNally play, which recently had its premiere at Bucks County Playhouse, will come to Broadway in the spring of 2014. The production of the play, titled Mothers and Sons and scheduled to be directed by Sheryl Kaller, will star Tyne Daly (Rabbit Hole, Gypsy).

Mothers and Sons is about a woman who, 20 years after her son’s death, turns up on the doorstep of his former lover, now married with a son.

Tony Award winning playwright Terrence McNally has had many of his plays on Broadway over the years, including Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class. He has also written the books for many Broadway musicals, Ragtime and The Full Monty among them.