Producers nix Jan. 3 shuttering despite holiday season
Producers of the Broadway revival of “Oleanna” have opted to shutter the show Sunday rather than hold out until the previously announced closing date of Jan. 3.
Move underscores the fact that while big-name tuners and star-vehicle plays can count on an influx of tourist biz to boost sales during holiday frames, many plays (as well as medium-range musicals) can get left out of the cold.
Although the Thanksgiving sesh last week yielded record-breaking receipts at hits like “Wicked” (which logged the first-ever $2 million week on Broadway), some shows — most of them plays — didn’t end up with a place at the table.
“Oleanna” suffered a particularly dire week, reporting sales of $129,778 and playing to auds at just 32% of capacity.
Box office for the revival of David Mamet’s 1992 battle-of-the-sexes drama has been generally modest since the production began Broadway perfs Sept. 29, so far grossing about $2 million total. Producers already had decided to shutter the show, initially posting a closing date for just after New Year’s — a common strategy that allows productions to benefit from holiday sales spikes.
But as last week made clear, only already-acknowledged hits, established brands and star-driven productions attract the attention of visiting theatergoers. The two plays to log the most significant sales figures last week were Daniel Craig-Hugh Jackman topliner “A Steady Rain” ($1.2 million) and Jude Law-starrer “Hamlet” ($950,000).
Although “Oleanna” also features familiar names, Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles, neither has proven a major draw for playgoing auds.
Production, helmed by Doug Hughes, originally bowed this summer at the Mark Taper Forum in L.A., where it earned enthusiastic reviews. Reaction from press in Gotham, where “Oleanna” opened Oct. 11, was more mixed.
Broadway incarnation is produced by Jeffrey Finn, Arlene Scanlan, Jed Bernstein, Ken Davenport, Carla Emil, Ergo Entertainment, Harbor Entertainment, Elie Hirschfeld, Rachel Hirschfeld, HOP Theatricals, Brian Fenty/Martha H. Jones and Center Theater Group.
Backers will lose money on the show, although Finn said in a statement that the early shuttering would allow the distribution of some coin to investors.
“Oleanna” will have run a total of 80 perfs when it shutters at the Golden Theater Dec. 6. Next skedded tenant for the venue is the Dame Edna-Michael Feinstein outing “All About Me,” beginning perfs Feb. 19.