I was frankly surprised to read Jeremy Gerard’s characterization of “Love! Valour! Compassion!’s” run at the Walter Kerr Theater as “disappointing, ” with a “limping” box office. “L! V! C!” was produced under the provisions of the Broadway Alliance, a producing scheme that was designed to allow plays of quality to reach their audiences. It was supposed to allow us to hark back to the days when plays like “The Rainmaker” (125 performances, 1952), “The Entertainer” (97 performances, 1958) and “Period of Adjustment” (132 performances, 1960) all recouped their investments with modest runs and made enough of a modest profit to allow their producers to want to produce more such plays.
The Alliance was never intended to create economic bonanzas. It was supposed to bring serious, high-quality theater back to a Broadway that had lost the ability to produce these kinds of reasonable successes. By that yardstick, “L! V! C!” performed ahead of expectations in every way. It ran 248 performances, recouped in six weeks, provided extended employment for a score of theatrical professionals and left its producers, Manhattan Theater Club and Jujamcyn, eager for more such ventures. To see this venture negatively characterized by Variety is disheartening, and actually damages the Broadway Alliance and the cause of serious drama on Broadway.
Jack Viertel, creative director, Jujamcyn Theaters
“Love! Valour! Compassion!” transferred to Broadway as one of the most acclaimed plays in recent history and went on to win the Tony Award for best play, among many other accolades. That it nevertheless had a disappointing Broadway run is no reflection on the merits of either the play or of the Broadway Alliance. The facts remain, however, that it rarely exceeded 50% of its modest gross potential, and typically attracted 60% paid attendance or less. And had the cost of the play’s transfer not been in the form of a priority loan from Jujamcyn, which required repayment before other expenses were met, “L.’ V.’ C!” would not have “recouped.”