Tuner gets Off B'way extension
With a four-week extension and a producer circling for a possible commercial transfer, Off Broadway tuner “Spring Awakening” will be rousing auds for a while longer.When the Atlantic Theater production scored strong reviews on Friday, B.O. hit six times the org’s average day-after-opening take, according to Atlantic managing director Andy Hamingson. Sales and plaudits prompted a four-week extension. Show, an adaptation of Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play featuring music by Duncan Sheik, now runs through Aug. 6. And producer Barry Weissler (“Chicago”) has seen “Spring Awakening” twice, further raising speculation about an even longer life for the production, to which commercial producers Ira Pittelman and Tom Hulce have long been attached. Whether a commercial transfer would be Broadway or Off Broadway — or even whether the show lives beyond this initial extension — will be determined in the coming weeks. During that time, Sheik and book writer-lyricist Steven Sater will continue to tweak and refine the piece. “Steven and Duncan are going to do a little work,” Hamingson said. With a cast of about a dozen thesps consisting mostly of young unknowns and a contemporary pop-rock score juxtaposed against the play’s 19th-century setting, “Spring Awakening” might seem a quirky fit for Broadway. But with Off Broadway economics making it increasingly difficult to turn a profit and smaller, less traditional fare carving out a place on Broadway (including “Avenue Q,” “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and the upcoming transfer of “Grey Gardens”), the Rialto still could be an option. And with a plot about a group of teens grappling with the twin shadows of sex and death, the show could draw a devoted young fan base a la “Rent.” Hamingson said “Spring” already boasts strong repeat biz, boosted by a block of $10 seats sold for each perf. “I met one person who’s seen it six times,” he said.
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