Sam Shepard Play Starring Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell
After 75 performances in addition to 25 preview performances, Fool For Love
has concluded its run at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. A Manhattan Theatre Club production, this play written by Sam Shepard opened on October 8, 2015 to a round of positive reviews. Ben Brantley from the New York Times likened the performance given by Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell to a savage, cyclical dance, complimenting the suspense generating from their excellent portrayal of the characters. The show was directed by Daniel Aukin, who made his Broadway directorial debut with this production. It was a transfer from the Williamstown Theater Festival in Williamstown, Massachusetts in summer 2014. After a last minute scramble to re-cast after the original stars had conflicting commitments, Arianda and Rockwell were found as if star-crossed to portray these roles. With a fantastic reception at the summer festival, the production was to be Broadway bound, and Manhattan Theatre Club jumped at the opportunity. Nina Arianda made a name for herself on Broadway in the 2011 to 2012 production of Venus in Fur
, and Sam Rockwell is a well-known film actor who made his Broadway debut in the 2010 production of A Behanding in Spokane
Box Office Never Rose Above Middling
Despite this excellent reception by critics and buzzy word of mouth, the show’s financials never became outstanding. The highest weekly gross was brought in the week ending October 25, 2015, with a gross of $371,345, which represents just 55.71% of its gross potential. Over the almost 13 weeks of the run, the average percentage reached of gross potential was 44.87%, and the average audience capacity was 82.62%. The top ticket price was $150.00, and the average paid admission throughout the run was $70.57. In addition to discounted tickets, Manhattan Theatre Club subscribers account for the lower average paid admission in spite of the fairly high audience capacity numbers. Of all the full performance weeks, the lowest weekly gross came in the week ending October 4, 2015, with a weekly gross of $236,855, or 35.39% of the show’s gross potential. Therefore, the gap between best week and worst week was not enormous, and the interest in this play stayed fairly consistent throughout the run, with a slight increase after the positive reviews came out.
Play Was Extended a Week in Any Case
Due to the strong reviews and word of mouth, the production announced shortly after opening that it would extend a week. The reason was likely an attempt to put the cart before the horse, or encourage positive word of mouth by publicizing the extension as an additional evidence for the show’s success. However, the extra week did not do much to increase the show’s profitability, as it therefore also had to pay another week of running costs. In fact, while most shows demonstrate an increase in the final week due to demand, this show saw a slight decrease. In addition to playing only seven performances in the final week, as opposed to the usual eight, the percentage of gross potential was also lower. This was perhaps due to the fewer subscribers who bought tickets for the extra week, or perhaps it was because the audience interest was saturated with the originally announced run.