NEW YORK — And then there will be only one.
Come September, Richard Greenberg’s “Take Me Out” will be the only play performing on Broadway.
Producer Jeffrey Richards announced over the weekend that his production of “Enchanted April,” starring Jayne Atkinson, will close Aug. 31. Matthew Barber’s romantic comedy, based on the Elizabeth von Arnim novel, will have played 24 previews and 144 regular performances at the Belasco Theater.
Nominated for a best play Tony, “Enchanted April” lost to “Take Me Out,” a win that marked a B.O. turnaround for the Greenberg drama, which had been languishing the previous three months of its run. Its Tony has pushed the show’s weekly receipts to a healthy six-figures above break-even costs.
Some members of the current cast are reportedly in negotiations to extend their contracts until year’s end.
Despite a 21-week run, “Enchanted April” will not recoup its $2 million capitalization. When the show closes Aug. 31, it will have been preceded this summer by the Aug. 24 closing of “Say Goodnight Gracie,” another best play Tony nominee.
“Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” which won the Tony Award for best revival of a play, finishes its limited engagement run on Aug. 31 in what promises to be one of the most profitable endeavors for a play revival in Broadway history.
That leaves September theatergoers to choose among 18 Broadway musicals (“Man of La Mancha” closes Aug. 31) but just one play. But in a famine-to-feast scenario, previews begin in October for new plays (“Golda’s Balcony,” “Retreat From Moscow,” “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All” and “The Violet Hour”) and a classic (“Henry IV”).
At least “Take Me Out” is current vintage. Back in December 1999, there was a similar drama dearth, with no new plays on the boards and only three revivals: “The Price,” “The Rainmaker” and “Waiting in the Wings.”
‘April’ in April
Although it is curtains for “Enchanted April” in Gotham, the Barber play moves West next year.
Sheldon Epps, artistic director of the Pasadena Playhouse, looks to open the show there on April 23 for a six-week run. Engagement will kick off a resident-theater tour that he and Jeffrey Richards are putting together.
“Our hope is to do the same thing we did with ‘Blue’ last year,” Epps said. After its 2002 run in Pasadena, the Charles Randolph-Wright comedy played similar four- to six-week engagements at the Papermill Playhouse, Coconut Grove Playhouse and with the Arizona Theater Co. in Tucson and Phoenix.
Similarly, the plays of August Wilson often perform at a consortium of theaters, including the Mark Taper Forum, Goodman, Kennedy Center and Seattle Rep.
“It is the wave of the future,” Epps said. “Regarding plays with intimate material, it is harder and harder to put together tours that play barns of theaters that are too big for the work.”
Michael Wilson, who helmed the Broadway production of “Enchanted April,” repeats those duties for Pasadena and beyond.
Elsewhere, Tonja Walker Davidson has secured rights to present “Enchanted” in Florida with an eye to the Royal Poinciana Playhouse and the Coconut Grove Playhouse. Davidson is one of the original Broadway producers of the show.