Denzel Washington Starred In Revival of Eugene O’Neill Play
On July 1, 2018, The Iceman Cometh concludes its celebrated revival run at Broadway’s Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. It began previews on March 23, 2018, ahead of an opening night on April 26, 2018. This play was written by Eugene O’Neill in 1939, and the first Broadway production was in 1946. Since then, Broadway revivals have taken place in 1973, starring James Earl Jones, in 1985, starring Jason Robards, and in 1999, starring Kevin Spacey. More recently, in 2005, the Chicago Goodman Theatre production, starring Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy, transferred Off-Broadway to the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The 2018 revival, which concludes performances this week, stars Denzel Washington in a production directed by George C. Wolfe (Shuffle Along, Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, Lucky Guy, The Normal Heart, Caroline or Change), and produced by Scott Rudin. On Broadway, Washington’s previous credits include Fences (for which he won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a play), as well as A Raisin in the Sun, Julius Caesar, and Checkmates. His many screen credits include his Academy Award winning performances in Training Day and Glory, as well as countless others including Cry Freedom, Malcolm X, The Hurricane, Remember the Titans, The Great Debaters, American Gangster, Fences, and Roman J. Israel, Esq. In this Broadway production of The Iceman Cometh, the cast also includes Bill Irwin, Colm Meaney, David Morse, Tammy Blanchard, Carolyn Braver, Austin Butler, Joe Forbrich, Nina Grollman, Thomas Michael Hammond, Neal Huff, Danny Mastrogiorgio, Dakin Matthews, Danny McCarthy, Jack McGee, Clark Middleton, Michael Potts, Reg Rogers, and Frank Wood.
The Iceman Cometh was nominated for eight Tony Awards,which was the fourth highest number of nominations received by any show (with several ties adding to the competition). These nominations were for Best Revival of a Play, Denzel Washington for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play, David Morse for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play, Santo Loquasto for Best Scenic Design of a Play, Ann Roth for Best Costume Design of a Play, Peggy Eisenhauer and Jules Fisher for Best Lighting Design of a Play, Dan Moses Schreier for Best Sound Design of a Play, and George C. Wolfe for Best Direction of a Play. However, with such a highly competitive year, the show did not win any single Tony Award. Nevertheless, the reviews were excellent. Ben Brantley from The New York Times declared the revival a Critics’ Pick, stating that he was “beaming like a tickled 2-year-old during much of George C. Wolfe’s revival of Eugene O’Neill’s behemoth barroom tragedy.” Allison Adato from Entertainment Weekly also gave the show a rave, posing the question, “With seven hours of angels and five hours of wizards to take in on Broadway this season, can a case be made for four hours of end-of-the-line drunks? Yes, and a good one.” Marilyn Stasio from Variety was a bit more tepid in her response, stating that Washington is “well cast” and is pleased that “George C. Wolfe has trimmed the play to a reasonable length,” but states that “this is still a long play with a lot of moving parts.” David Rooney from The Hollywood Reporter wasn’t the biggest fan of the play, stating that its “bleak vision of men drowning their deferred plans in cheap booze can be as prolix as it is poetic.”
Strong But Decreasing Box Office Throughout the Run
In the first partial week of previews, The Iceman Cometh brought in 104.91% of its gross potential over two performances, with Denzel Washington demonstrating his usual prowess at the box office. However, The Iceman Cometh is known as a long affair, and this appears to have been a dissuasive factor for ticketbuyers. As the run continued its course, the box office continued to be somewhat strong, but did steadily decrease. In the month of the June, the average percentage reached of gross potential was in the low 70s. Of all reported box office figures thus far, which include all but this final week, the average percentage reached of gross potential was 84.78%.
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