Pam MacKinnon Directed Play by Beau Willimon
Today, Sunday, March 11, 2018, The Parisian Woman plays its final performance at the Hudson Theatre, where it has been running since November 9, 2017, and where it officially opened on November 30, 2017. At the time of closing, the show has played 141 performances, including previews. There was a lot of hype going into production for this show. For one thing, Uma Thurman made her Broadway debut in this production. An incredibly prolific star, Thurman dabbled in the realm of musical theatre with the 2005 film version of The Producers, and she has been Off-Broadway such as the 1999 production of Molière’s The Misanthrope, but until this show she hadn’t actually appeared on Broadway. She is also well known for roles in such films as Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Dangerous Liaisons, Batman & Robin, Gattaca, Les Misérables, Vatel, Tape, Chelsea Walls, and Nymphomaniac. In addition to Thurman, the cast included Phillipa Soo, who was nominated for a Tony Award for originating the part of Eliza in Hamilton, and who also starred in the titular role in Amélie. Furthermore, the cast included Josh Lucas (The Glass Menagerie), Blair Brown (Copenhagen, James Joyce’s The Dead, Cabaret, Arcadia), and Marton Csokas (films including The Lord of the Rings, xXx, Kingdom of Heaven, Romulus My Father, and The Equalizer). In addition to the cast, the hype heading into the production stemmed from the playwright, Beau Willimon, who began in the theatre but since made a huge name for himself as the creator of the politically charged television series “House of Cards.” As The Parisian Woman is also politically themed, with Uma Thurman leading the cast, and with the director Pam MacKinnon (Amélie, China Doll, The Heidi Chronicles, A Delicate Balance, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Clybourne Park), there were high hopes for this production. However, that all changed when the reviews came out.
When the show opened on November 30, 2017, the reviews were heartily disappointing. The New York Times said “I’m afraid you’d get bored in this one,” Variety said if “The Parisian Woman leads anywhere, it will be down the drain,” and the Chicago Tribune called it “a stunningly smug, utterly incredible and wholly inept political satire of the sexual mores of the chattering Republican classes.” Clearly, this is not Beau Willimon’s best work. As for the box office, it started out strong, but quickly slowed down. In the first partial week of five previews, the show brought in 88.36% of its gross potential, and in the following, full week, it brought in 80.29% of gross potential. However, the Uma Thurman super-fans quickly wore out, and as negative word of mouth began to spread, the numbers took a turn for the worse. In the last reported week of box office figures, the week ending March 4, 2018, the show brought in just $383,885, which represents only 37.01% of its gross potential. That is the worst box office week so far, but others have come close, including the week ending February 11, 2018, which brought in 38.31% of gross potential, the week ending February 4, 2018, which brought in 38.58% of gross potential, and the week ending January 7, 2018, which brought in 39.30% of gross potential. Over the course of the reported box office figures so far, which includes all but this final week, the average percentage reached of gross potential was 54.67%. Therefore, upon closing, this play will certainly not have made any profits, and the work is not likely to be revived on a major scale anytime soon.
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