The Price concluded its run with mixed box office and critical response, but Danny DeVito earned raves for his Tony nominated Broadway debut.

A Lesser Known Work by Arthur Miller Co-Starred Danny DeVito

danny devitoAs the spring season is coming to a close, so are some of the limited engagements that played over the last few months. Among these is The Price, a lesser known play by Arthur Miller, which premiered in 1968 and has since been revived four times. Miller’s other works include All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, A View from the Bridge, A Memory of Two Mondays, The Man Who Had All the Luck, An Enemy of the People, After the Fall, and Incident at Vichy. The most recent revival of The Price recently shuttered at the American Airlines Theatre in a Roundabout Theatre Company production. Directed by Terry Kinney (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Reasons to Be Pretty), the production starred four well-known actors. Among these, in by no means the lead part, was Emmy Award winner Danny DeVito making his Broadway debut. The other actors were Jessica Hecht (Fiddler on the Roof, Harvey, The Assembled Parties, Brighton Beach Memoirs, A View from the Bridge), Mark Ruffalo (Awake and Sing!), and Tony Shalhoub (The Heidi Chronicles, The Odd Couple, Lend Me a Tenor, Conversations with My Father, Act One, Golden Boy). Despite all of this talent involved, the show only received one Tony Award nomination: for Danny DeVito for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play.

Unanimously Mixed Reviews from Criticsthe price

When the show opened on March 16, 2017, the high anticipation led to somewhat of a letdown. Alexis Soloski from The New York Times described the show as a tragedy disguised as a rummage sale. Adam Feldman from Time Out New York remarked that Danny DeVito stole the show, but that the show generally failed to provide the focus required from this more economical of Miller’s works. Joe McGovern from Entertainment Weekly also found Danny DeVito’s performance to be unforgettable, praising his unique comedic personality, but called the revival wobbly and generally found its lesser known nature among Miller’s works to be deserved. Jeremy Gerard from Deadline also waxed eloquently about DeVito’s performance, but did not praise the production overall, and Joe Dziemianowicz from the New York Daily News was also on the fence about the production overall, remarking that Tony Shalhoub and Mark Ruffalo were not well cast as brothers. Therefore, these considerably mixed reviews did not lead to a successful production for this revival of The Price.

Box Office Was Good, but Not Great

When the run concluded on May 14, 2017, it had its best week yet in the final week of the run. As early as March 27, 2017, the show decided to extend a week, which may have been in vain, for though the final week was the run’s best, that would likely have happened had the final week been a week earlier, as originally planned. Over the course of the exactly 100 performances of The Price, including 31 preview performances, with a top ticket price of $250.00, the average paid admission across the run was $101.82, and the audience was filled up to an average of 99.85% of its capacity. While these numbers may seem like nothing to cry about, they certainly do not add up to a profitable production. After all, the show brought in an average of 77.02% of its gross potential, which is the most telling figure. When shows like Hamilton are regularly bringing in over 100% of their gross potential, it is clear that that is where the money is to be made. In this case, The Price surely closed at a loss.