Jason Alexander Replaces Larry David in “Fish in the Dark”

Box Office Takes Major Dip With David’s Departure

jason alexander larry davidFish in the Dark has been one of this season’s major hits. Written by and starring Larry David, the creator of Seinfeld and creator / star of Curb Your Enthusiasm, this play marked the household name’s Broadway debt. The theatre going audience was riveted by this new face on the big stage, as the box office receipts were immediately excellent right out of the gate, and stayed that way until Larry David’s final performance on June 7, 2015. This was the same day as the Tony Awards. Although Fish in the Dark was not honored with any awards or nominations, there was a nod to the stardom of Larry David as he was given the honor of presenting the most coveted award and the final award of the evening: that for Best Musical. He presented this award to Fun Home. Despite this lack of accolades, Fish in the Dark was an undeniable box office success. It announced recoupment of its initial capitalization on May 20, 2015. It brought in over one million dollars every week, with rising weekly grosses as the run went one, from the first full week of performances ending February 15, 2015 until Larry David’s final week ending June 7, 2015. However, the moment Jason Alexander stepped in on June 9, 2015, the box office took a major dip. In his first week, the week ending June 14, 2015, the show saw a decrease in ticket sales of $403,563 from the week before. Though Jason Alexander is also a major star, he is also a much more prevalent face on Broadway, and fans were just not as excited to pay top dollar to see him.

Three Weeks of Piddling Grossesjason alexander larry david

In the three weeks of full performances since Alexander took over, the weekly grosses have remained fairly constant. Following the week ending June 14, 2015 with the weekly gross of $842,633, there was the week ending June 21, 2015 with a gross of $849,330, and then this past week ending June 28, 2015 had a weekly gross of $848,378. In this past week, the average paid admission was $107.66, which is still higher than many plays on Broadway, but it is a sharp decrease from the average paid admission in David’s final week, which was $142.98. Whereas David was regularly filling up the audience to an average capacity of 101.5%, the weekly average audience capacity since Jason Alexander took over have averaged about 90%. Finally, while the average percentage reached of gross potential during David’s run was about 114%, the percentage reached of gross potential since Alexander took over has been about 81%.

Keeping It in the “Seinfeld” Family

When Jason Alexander played George Costanza on Seinfeld for many years, he was reportedly written to be a character based on Larry David himself. It is therefore appropriate that he should replace David in the role he wrote and played himself in his Broadway debut. Alexander is a common name on Broadway. He was in the second cast of The Producers opposite Martin Short, when Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane departed the production. He has also appeared in Accomplice, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Broadway Bound, The Rink, and Merrily We Roll Along. Most of these roles were before his Seinfeld days, so he left his established position of appearing onstage when he became a sitcom regular. At this point, however, he is returning to his stage roots, combined with the creative source that made him a household name as well. However, he just isn’t able to sell tickets the way Larry David can. Alexander continues with the show until its final performance on August 1, 2015.

“Skylight” Completes Run on a High Note

Tony Award Winning Best Revival Concludes Run

skylight posterOn June 21, 2015, Skylight played its final performance of its Tony Award winning run. It had been running since it began previews on March 13, 2015, and opening night took place on April 2, 2015. Skylight is a play by David Hare (The Year of Magical Thinking, The Vertical Hour) the premiered in the West End in 1995, followed by a Broadway premiere in 1996. The 2015 revival at the John Golden Theatre is likewise a transfer from the West End, where Stephen Daldry’s production ran in 2014. Stephen Daldry is the extremely prolific theatre director whose credits this season alone also include the highly acclaimed Broadway production of The Audience, as well as earlier productions on Broadway of Billy Elliot: The Musical, An Inspector Calls, and Via Dolorosa, the last of which was also written by David Hare. This revival of Skylight was nominated for seven Tony Awards, taking home only one but a prestigious one: the award for Best Revival of a Play. Of the three actors in the play – Carey Mulligan, Bill Nighy, and Matthew Beard – all received nominations for their performances, which were, respectively, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play, and Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play. Stephen Daldry received a nomination for his direction, and the scenic designer and lighting designer were also honored with nominations.

Recoupment and Escalating Box Officecarey mulligan bill nighy skylight

On May 31, 2015, Skylight announced that it had recouped its initial capitalization, which is suspected to be in the realm of $3 million. Its highest weekly gross was achieved in the final week of performances, when the show brought in $927,539, representing 108.09% of its gross potential. The penultimate week was also an excellent one for Skylight’s box office, bringing in $865,346, which represents 100.85% of its gross potential. Though it took the final two weeks to reach the heights of 100% or higher of gross potential, the box office throughout the run was really not bad. With only two minor exceptions, every single week showed an increase in box office from the week before. In the first full week of eight performances, the week ending March 29, 2015, the weekly gross was $618,692, representing 76.54% of its gross potential. The only two occasions where the box office took a dip from the week before were the week ending May 10, 2015, and the week ending May 31, 2015, which were the insignificant decreases of $12,606 and $16,475, respectively. Therefore, ticket buyers became more interested in Skylight as the run went on, due likely to positive word of mouth, reviews, and then the announcement of Tony nominations and wins.

Another Coup for Scott Rudin

The lead producers of Skylight were Robert Fox and Scott Rudin. Rudin is known for his excellent productions of both new plays and revivals, generally starring a major Hollywood name. This season alone, Rudin was also responsible for the already recouped Fish in the Dark, the highly acclaimed A Delicate Balance, and the excellent revival of This Is Our Youth. He also had a hand in The Audience, The River, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. In previous seasons, he has mounted such hits as The Book of Mormon, Death of a Salesman starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Motherf**ker with the Hat, and countless others. Therefore, an investment with Rudin is generally a good bet, as is buying a ticket to a show that he has produced.

“Skylight” and “Fish in the Dark” Recoup

Tony Winning Revival “Skylight” Recoups Its Investment

skylight posterAmong the shows this season that have earned enough profits to recoup their initial capitalization, Skylight managed achieved this crucial marker of success in the week before the Tony Awards. The show has been running in previews since March 13, 2015 at the John Golden Theatre, and its official opening night was on April 2, 2015, after which it earned magnificent reviews. Skylight has been regularly bringing in grosses between $700,000 and $800,000 per week since this opening, with the highest weekly gross yet achieved this past week, the week ending June 14, 2015: $865,346. For the first time, the show broke through the 100% of gross potential mark, bringing in 100.85% of its gross potential with an average paid admission of $134.87. Though it was not revealed what the initial capitalization was for this show, the producers Scott Rudin and Robert Fox have done well for themselves, as recoupment was announced on May 31, 2015. It may have helped that this week the highest paid admission was raised from $297.00 to $323.00, but it is nevertheless undeniable that audience members were keen to catch this show before its closing next week on June 21, 2015.

Tony Snubbed Play “Fish in the Dark” Also Recoupslarry david  jason alexander

Unlike Skylight, which recouped after earning rave reviews and significant recognition from the Tony committee, Fish in the Dark achieved this honor after earning none of the other accolades. Fish in the Dark, written by and starring Larry David, began previews on February 2, 2015, and opened on March 5, 2015 at the Cort Theatre. This play has more than just financial success in common with Skylight; both plays are also produced by Scott Rudin, who certainly knows how to pick them. Fish in the Dark received a mixture of negative and blasé reviews, and it was not nominated for a single Tony award. However, Larry David still had the honor of presenting the Tony Award for Best Musical at the ceremony, alongside Jason Alexander who has recently replaced him in the starring role of Fish in the Dark. Despite a lack of success in the press and awards, the play achieved success in the way that ultimately matters most to producers: financial success. Recoupment was announced on May 20, 2015. Although the producers would not specify what the capitalization was, Variety speculated that it was between $3 million and $4 million, due to the large cast and A-list talent involved. The highest gross achieved thus far by Fish in the Dark took place in the week ending June 7, 2015, the week approaching the Tony Awards, when it brought in $1,246,196, representing 119.73% of its gross potential. The top ticket price is a whomping $497.00, and the average paid admission that week was $142.98. Still, since Jason Alexander took over in the following week, grosses have significantly diminished.

Skylight’s Tony Success

Skylight was nominated for seven Tony Awards, but only won one; still this was arguably the most coveted of the awards for which it was nominated: Best Revival of a Play. The other nominations it received were Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for Bill Nighy, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for Carey Mulligan, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play for Matthew Beard, Best Scenic Design of a Play for Bob Crowley, Best Lighting Design of a Play for Natasha Katz, and Best Direction of a Play for Stephen Daldry. Daldry, who also directed the highly acclaimed and financially successful The Audience, was nominated just for Skylight. However, in this case the Tony voters believed that the whole was greater than the sum of its parts, for it won the Tony Award that sums them all up: Best Revival. Fish in the Dark, on the other hand, received no Tony Awards, but made an even bigger splash at the box office with weekly grosses over $1 million every week in which Larry David appeared.

David Hare’s “Skylight” Begins Previews

The Long Road from the National Theatre

Skylight-Broadway-Play-Tickets-176-012814On March 13, 2015, Skylight began previews at Broadway’s John Golden Theatre. It is scheduled to open officially on April 2, 2015, and to run for a limited engagement until June 14, 2015. The play was written by David Hare, and first premiered in 1995, when it was directed by Richard Eyre starring Michael Gambon and Lia Williams. At the time, it opened at the National Theatre’s Cottesloe Theatre, transferred to the West End, and then to Broadway, where it was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play, among other Tony nominations. It had also won the Olivier Award for Best New Play in 1996. Following the Broadway premiere, Skylight returned for another engagement in the West End, this time at the Vaudeville Theatre starring Bill Nighy and Stella Gonet in 1997. In June 2014, a revival of Skylight opened at the Wyndham’s Theatre. That revival was directed by Stephen Daldry, and starred Carey Mulligan alongside Bill Nighy, playing the same part as in 1997. In July 2014, the show was broadcast to cinemas around the world through the National Theatre’s NT Live programme. This helped it gain momentum towards its Broadway run, where it has just begun previews with the same cast as the recent West End revival.

A Promising Start at the Box Officecarey mulligan bill nighy skylight

In the three performances for which box office figures have been thus far reported, Skylight is performing fairly well, although it is not selling out at this stage. Over the course of those three shows, the box office gross was $253,369, which represents 83.59% of its gross potential. With an average paid admission of $105.31, the show’s top ticket price was $248.00, and the audience was at 100.0% capacity. This demonstrates that the show’s producers – Robert Fox and Scott Rudin – have stealthily employed discounting strategies to perfectly fill up the house while maximizing box office grosses. Of course, the expert ticket price strategist Scott Rudin would much prefer not to discount at all, a feat he has managed with an astounding number of his shows, and perhaps as word of mouth spreads, and reviews are eventually published, the production may gain enough traction so as to be able to stop discounting. After all, Carey Mulligan is a big household name, especially with her recent film starring roles such as Daisy in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. Furthermore, the NT Live exhibition of the London production has served as the best advertising a play can ask for, so hopefully ticket sales will continue to increase as the spring weather comes on more strongly.

A Small Play with a Large Message

Skylight is the first of David Hare’s plays to be set wholly in one room. Carey Mulligan plays Kyra Hollis, a schoolteacher in East London who had previously been living with a family by the name of Sargeant. The play has only three characters. At first, Kyra converses with Edward Sargeant (played by Matthew Beard), who was the son of the family she had lived with. It comes out that Kyra had had an affair with Edward’s father Tom, and she had left her living quarters with their family when Tom’s wife had discovered this adultery. Since that time, Edward’s mother has died, and he confronts Kyra about having abandoned him, as he considers to be like a sister to him. Soon, Tom shows up unannounced, and Kyra cooks an entire spaghetti dinner for him onstage. It becomes clear that the future of their relationship depends on whether they can both lay to rest their preconceived opinions of each other.

Larry David’s “Fish in the Dark” Breaks Advance Records

fish in the darkThe “Curb Your Enthusiasm” Star Conquers Broadway

Larry David, best known for creating and starring in the television show Curb Your Enthusiasm, as well as for co-creating and lead writing the series Seinfeld, is coming to Broadway as both lead actor and writer. Fish in the Dark, billed as a dark comedy that involves the death of the patriarch of the family, has released little other information about the show. However, the pedigree of Larry David’s name alone has allowed the show to break advance box office records. Additional cast includes Rita Wilson, Rosie Perez, and Jayne Houdyshell. The show is directed by Anna D. Shapiro (Motherf**ker with the Hat) and produced by Scott Rudin. Previews begin this upcoming Monday, February 2, 2015, and the play is already selling out. Opening night is scheduled for March 5, 2015, and the run is intended to be a limited engagement of 18 weeks.

A Record Breaking $13.5 Million Advancelarry david

It has taken in a remarkable $13.5 million, which breaks the advance box office records for a straight play. The previous record for a straight play’s advance was $13.05 million, earned by Betrayal starring Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz. That play was produced by Scott Rudin, who is also the producer of Fish in the Dark. The budget for this play has not been reported, but it is surely in the low millions, probably not over $3 million. It is therefore a surefire hit before it even begins. Other plays this season are also doing well, but not quite as well as Fish in the Dark. It’s Only a Play starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick was performing alongside top musicals this whole season, but its opening advance was only $10 million. The Bradley Cooper led revival of The Elephant Man also performed very well at the box office, as did Hugh Jackman in The River, but neither could compete with Fish in the Dark in terms of advance sales. Other starry plays opening this spring include Helen Mirren in The Audience, as well as Bill Nighy in Skylight by David Hare.

Larry David, the Broadway Newbie

Larry David is a novice in the theatre. He told the press that he has not been in a play since the eighth grade. In a memorable episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, David plans to star in The Producers alongside fellow performers David Schwimmer and Cady Huffman. Though the audience is wowed, Mel Brooks is not impressed, and he ends up failing to make the cut. Of course the entire scenario was played for comedic effect, but he certainly demonstrated that he was not intending to pursue a career in musical theatre. Nevertheless, theatre itself is not outside his domain, as he is making quite a debut on Broadway this week. The critical response will become clear in March after the opening night, but there is no going back now; audiences are already committed to loving this show.

“This Is Our Youth” Opens on Broadway

Critics agree: Kenneth Lonergan’s Broadway debut is a hit!

this is our youthDirected by Anna D. Shapiro, This Is Our Youth opened this past Thursday, September 11, 2014 at the Cort Theatre to rave reviews.  Starring three young actors portraying three lost youths, this play is the Broadway premiere of a play that originally played Off-Broadway in 1996.  This marks the Broadway debut for all three cast members.  Michael Cera plays Warren Straub, a dejected 19 year-old who has robbed his father and gotten kicked out of his home when the play opens.  Cera is best known for his screen work such as television’s Arrested Development and films including Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Juno.  He plays opposite Kieran Culkin in the role of Dennis Ziegler, an aspiring cocaine entrepreneur. Culkin is best known for his roles in Igby Goes Down and a small part alongside his brother Macaulay in Home Alone.  The third cast member making her Broadway debut is Tavi Gevinson, who plays Jessica Goldman, an anxious yet insightful student of fashion who is pursued by Warren.  Tavi recently transitioned into acting from her precocious career as a fashion blogger and model, with such credits as Enough Said.

A Long Time Coming for Kenneth Lonergan

Kenneth Lonergan has been entertaining audiences of stage and screen for over 30 years.  This Is Our Youth was the first title that kenneth lonerganbrought him acclaim, earning a Drama Desk Award nomination for Best Play in 1996.  His play The Waverley Gallery was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2001.  As a filmmaker, both writer and director, he won the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize in 2000 for You Can Count on Me, which was executive produced by Martin Scorsese.  That film won countless more writing awards such as the Los Angeles Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay as well as the AFI Award for Best Film and Best New Writer.  He co-wrote the screenplay for Gangs of New York in 2002, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Screenplay.  In addition, he wrote the screenplay for the 1999 film Analyze This and the 2002 film Analyze That, and his other plays include Lobby Hero and The Starry Messenger.  However, despite all this acclaim, this is the first time one of his plays has been seen on Broadway.

Excellent Reviews, But the Box Office is Still Behind

this is our youth castCritics were unanimous in their praise of this Broadway premiere.  Ben Brantley of The New York Times called Anna D. Shapiro’s production “sensational,” and praised the performers for their acrobatics.  Entertainment Weekly called it a “crackling Broadway revival,” and AM New York deemed it Chekhov meets Gossip Girl.  All in all, the reviews were laudatory.  However, the box office is still slow.  The latest box office report only took into account two days after the reviews came out, so there is still time for word of mouth to spread and for theatregoers to find their way to the Cort Theatre during the run.  In the week ending September 14, 2014, This Is Our Youth only grossed $372,793, which represents 49.85% of its gross potential.  This is approximately how well the show has been doing since it began previews on August 18, 2014.  It’s possible that the young actors Kieran Culkin and Michael Cera are not popular names with the usual Broadway going audience, and that their fanbases are having difficulty affording Broadway tickets.  But this is still hope that word will spread that this is a show worth seeing for all demographics.

Larry David’s “Fish in the Dark” Headed to Broadway

A Broadway Debut as Actor and Playwright

larry david

Larry David, the creator of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and co-creator of NBC’s Seinfeld, is making his Broadway debut as actor and playwright.  Fish in the Dark will begin previews on February 2, 2015 at the Cort Theatre, and the show will officially open on March 5, 2015.  The play will be directed by Anna D. Shapiro, who won a 2008 Tony Award for her helming of August: Osage County.  This season, Shapiro is directing Kenneth Lonergan’s This is Our Youth, which is produced by Scott Rudin.  Rudin is also behind Fish in the Dark, and he was also the producer of Shapiro’s staging of Motherf**ker with the Hat in 2011.  The scenic design will be by Todd Rosenthal (This Is Our Youth, Of Mice and Men), the lighting will be designed by Brian MacDevitt (A Delicate Balance, This Is Our Youth), and costume design is by Ann Roth (A Delicate Balance, It’s Only a Play).

A Super Cast for David’s Debut

anna d shapiro

Anna D. Shapiro

David’s play is not a one-man show; rather it is said to have about 15 characters, though it is not clear how many actors play these characters.  So far, the further cast members who have been announced are Jayne Houdyshell (Tony-nominated for her roles in Well and Follies), Jake Cannavale (the Broadway debut of the son of Bobby Cannavale), Jerry Adler (Taller than a Dwarf, Play Me a Country Song), Jonny Orsini (Macbeth, The Nance), and Rosie Perez (The Ritz, Reckless).  Anna D. Shapiro directed Bobby Cannavale in Motherf**ker with the Hat, so it is all too fitting that she is also the director of the show in which his son Jake makes his Broadway debut.

David’s First Play as an Adult

Larry David says this will be the first play in which he has performed since the age of 8.  He said that he has often thought of writing a play, though he has rarely thought of appearing in a play.  However, he is talented at writing characters similar to himself, and this play certainly includes a character that can be described in that way.  In fact, he says that character may just be him with a different name.  In any case, it has not yet been announced what that name is, nor have all of the details been disclosed about the story or the rest of the characters.  The New York Times reported that David has said the play involves a death in the family.  More information will come to light as the spring season approaches.

“This Is Our Youth” Begins Previews on Broadway

Kenneth Lonergan’s Broadway Debut

this is our youthThroughout his writing career, Kenneth Lonergan has had countless successes for stage and screen, including the Pulitzer Prize nominated play The Waverley Gallery, the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner and Academy Award Best Screenplay nominee You Can Count on Me, and the Academy Award nominated Best Screenplay Gangs of New York.  Still, this is the first time his work has been seen on Broadway.  This Is Our Youth began previews on August 18, 2014 at the Cort Theatre, starring Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, and Tavi Gevinson.  The play’s official opening will take place on September 11, 2014.  It is the story of three lost youths, taking place in 1982 in New York City.  The play originally premiered Off-Broadway in 1996 produced by the New Group, when it starred Josh Hamilton, Mark Ruffalo, and Missy Yager.  It has also been produced in the West End with an array of stars including Freddie Prinze, Jr., Anna Paquin, Casey Affleck, Jake Gyllenhaal, Matt Damon, Colin Hanks, Hayden Christensen, and Heather Burns.

Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, and Tavi Gevinson

The Broadway production of This Is Our Youth is directed by Anna D. Shapiro (August: Osage County, Motherf**ker with the Hat).  This this is our youth castproduction originated in Chicago at the Steppenwolf Theatre, prior to arriving on Broadway.  Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin are longtime collaborators, having starred in these same roles in a production of This Is Our Youth in 2012 at the Sydney Opera House.  They also co-starred in the film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.  All three young actors are making their Broadway debuts.  Michael Cera is best known for his screen comedic roles such as the television show Arrested Development as well as films including Juno, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Superbad, and This is the End.  Kieran Culkin is a well-known actor for roles in such films as Igby Goes Down and Music of the Heart.  Furthermore, he is renowned as the younger brother of Macaulay Culkin, and he also previously acted in a film written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, Margaret.  Tavi Gevinson is only 18 years old, but she has already had a celebrated career as a fashion blogger and model.  She only recently turned to acting, appearing in films such as Enough Said.

Young and Adrift

this is our youth posterThe play takes place in an apartment in the Upper West Side of Manhattan in 1982.  Dennis Ziegler is a cocaine dealer and friend to Warren Straub, a 19 year-old who has just been kicked out of his house and stolen $15,000 from his alcoholic father.  When a young fashion student named Jessica Goldman comes over to the apartment, Warren hopes that he can entice her to sleep with him with his newfound load of cash.  The play is bitingly realistic and insightful about issues of adolescence and maturity, and these three actors are sure to bring a fresh and vibrant take on the material to the Broadway stage.  The play is produced by mega-producer Scott Rudin, who often uses his power to bring high quality material to the stage that might not otherwise be seen by such large-scale audiences.  Interestingly, he has already made one creative marketing move: the marquee outside the theatre appears as if the sign for This Is Our Youth was illegally taped over the sign for the show that was previously in the Cort Theatre – the recently shuttered The Cripple of Inishmaan starring Daniel Radcliffe.  Incorporating the show’s themes of rebellion and youth, this marketing ploy is sure to cause a few heads to turn.

“A Raisin in the Sun” Concludes Performances

An Unequivocal Success

Kenny Leon’s acclaimed revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun played its final performance at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre last night: Sunday, June 15, 2014.  Starring Denzel Washington as Walter Lee Younger, this production took home three Tony Awards last weekend: those for Best Revival of a Play, Best Director of a Play (Kenny Leon), and Best Featured Actress in a Play (Sophie Okonedo).  This was the most wins for any straight play at this year’s Tony Awards, and the show was also nominated for an additional two acting awards: those for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play (LaTanya Richardson Jackson), and Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play (Anika Noni Rose).  Though Denzel Washington was not nominated, Kenny Leon, in accepting his Tony Award, made it clear he believed this was a snub.  After all, Washington received unqualified praise for his performance, and he furthermore won the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for 2010’s Fences, also directed by Leon.

Successful Recoupment of Capitalization

The run was by all measures successful, as the producers announced last week that the play managed to recoup its entire a raisin in the sun castcapitalization, which is reported to be $4.25 million.  This is a very large cost for a straight play with a limited engagement, but the investment, as well as the profit potential, was significantly upped due to the star casting of Denzel Washington, whose innumerable fans reliably flock to the theatre for the opportunity to see him in live performance.  The recoupment is especially impressive given the briefness of the play’s run, which totaled only 85 performances in addition to 27 preview performances since it began on March 8, 2014 (the official opening was April 3, 2014).  This achievement was only possible due to the high demand for tickets, which allowed premium pricing and very limited discounting.  The entire run was sold out, the average ticket price each week was generally over $140, and the top ticket price for premium seats was $348.  In general, the weekly gross reached around 110% of its potential (due to premium pricing), and each weekly gross was almost without exception over $1.1 million.

Solidifying Its Place In History

This is the third time A Raisin in the Sun has played on Broadway.  The premiere was in 1959, marking the first time a play written by a black woman was seen on Broadway.  The first revival was in 2004, also directed by Kenny Leon.  Though that production won two Tony Awards (Best Actress for Phylicia Rashad, and Best Featured Actress for Audra McDonald), it did not win the award for Best Revival (though it was nominated), nor was Kenny Leon nominated for the award he would win in 2014: Best Director.  Critics discussed how this production was a significantly more mature achievement than Leon’s first attempt, which may justify the difference in awards reception.  This production also had the honor of being attended by the President of the United States, Barack Obama, and his family.  On Friday, April 11, 2014, West 47th Street was swarming was security guards, as the first family made its way to the theatre.  Barack and Michelle Obama also had attended a revival of August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone in 2009, and Michelle had taken her daughters to the musicals Memphis and The Addams Family.

All in all, this production was a crowning achievement for its producers, who make up a great selection of the producing society of Broadway, including Scott Rudin, Roger Berlind, Jon Platt, Scott Delman, Roy Furman, Stephanie McClelland, Ruth Hendel, Sonia Friedman, and Daryl Roth.  In this light, it was actually a success for the Broadway community as a whole, pumping much needed blood into the life of quality-driven productions on Broadway.

Broadway Fall 2014 Line-Up Falling into Place

This fall looks to be an exciting one on Broadway!  Let’s face it – every new season is pretty exciting.  But with the Tony Awards still a month away to commend the brilliant plays and musicals of the 2013-2014 season, announcements are already being made for shows to open next fall.

It was recently announced that Hugh Jackman will be returning to Broadway this fall in Jez Butterworth’s play The River.  Jez Butterworth’s work was last seen on Broadway with the 2011 production of Jerusalem starring Mark Rylance, directed by Ian Rickson, and prohugh jackmanduced by London-based powerhouse theatre production company Sonia Friedman Productions.  Sonia Friedman will be shepherding a Butterworth play once again, after having watched over its production at the Royal Court Theatre, where Jerusalem also premiered.  The partnership between Ian Rickson and Jez Butterworth also holds strong, as Rickson is on board to direct this play.  The River is about a loner on a remote island and the two women in his life, who will be played by British actresses Laura Donnelly and Cush Jumbo.  The River will begin performances at the Circle in the Square Theatre on October 31, 2014.  A favorite of the Great White Way, Hugh Jackman sold out his 2011 one-man show Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway, and he will host the Tony Awards this year for the fourth time.

In addition to the proven partnership between director Ian Rickson and playwright Jez Butterworth, another fall show will see the recurrence of a proven Broadway partnership, this time between two beloved actors.  Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, who famously co-starred in 2001’s The Producers, will join forces this fall for a Terrence McNally play called It’s Only a Play, directed by Jack O’Brien.  Like The Producers, It’s Only a Play is also a comedy based in the world of show biz.  Having premiered at the Manhattan Theater Club in 1986, It’s Only a Play is the story of a nervous playwright (Broderick) at the opening night party for a play he has written, and his interactions with his backstabbing friend (Lane).  Produced by Tom Kirdahy, who is married to Terrence McNally, the play will begin performances in September at a theatre yet to be announced.

Producer Scott Rudin also has a starry play up his sleeve for this fall.  This Is Our Youth, written by Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count on Me, Margaret, The Starry Messenger) first premiemichael cera kieran culkinred Off-Broadway in a production by The New Group in 1996.  The play centers on three aimless teenagers in New York City, and this Broadway production will star Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, and Tavi Gevinson.  Directed by Anna D. Shapiro (Motherf**ker with the Hat), the show will have an out-of-town pre-Broadway run at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago over the summer, and it will then transfer to Broadway’s Cort Theatre with performances beginning August 18, 2014.  Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin also appeared in their same roles in an Australian production of this play in 2012, directed by Mark Brokaw.

Further fall productions that have been announced include Simon Stephens’ play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, which is a transfer from London’s National Theatre via the West End.  The play will occupy the Ethel Barrymore Theatre with previews beginning September 15, 2014.  In addition, The Country House by Donald Margulies will star Blythe Danner at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, with previews beginning September 9, 2014 in a Manhattan Theatre Club production.  Finally, it has also been announced that a production of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing will play at the American Airlines Theatre in a Roundabout Theatre Company production, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ewan McGregor, and Cynthia Nixon, and directed by Sam Gold.  This is just the tip of the iceberg, however, as many more exciting shows are sure to be announced for the Broadway fall season in the coming months.