The powerhouse comedy of the 2008-09 Broadway season came from French scribe Yasmina Reza — although calling her Tony-winning play “God of Carnage” a comedy still comes as a surprise to the author.
The biting satire of bourgeois smugness has, since “Carnage” opened on Broadway in March, frequently racked up weekly sales approaching $1 million — which, in Rialto terms, is an astonishing sum more common to large-scale tuners. Play has so far grossed nearly $14 million.
Popularity is fueled by a starry cast that includes Tony winner Marcia Gay Harden, Hope Davis, Jeff Daniels and James Gandolfini. Helmer Matthew Warchus, who also directed the London incarnation, picked up a Tony.
The entire production has proved such a smash that producers are making the unusual decision to shut down the show in August to allow actors to fulfill prior commitments — and then reopen the show in the fall, in the same theater, with the entire ensemble intact.
Still, when Reza picked up the best play Tony for “Carnage” (her second, after winning for “Art” in 1998), she admitted to being amazed at how much funnier the Broadway incarnation is, compared with the Paris production that she directed in 2008.
“It was very dark, very violent, and not as funny,” she said. “It was much more cruel.”