'Vanya and Sonia' extends; 'Christmas Story' books Madison Square Garden
With the Tonys out of the way, the Broadway productions featured on the kudocast have begun to lock in upcoming plans as winning play “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” set a new extension with a new lead actress in the cast and nominated musical “A Christmas Story” mapped out a multi-city Yuletide return.
Christopher Durang’s “Vanya and Sonia,” which had already stretched its engagement to late July, will now run for another month (through Aug. 25) in the wake of its new play Tony. Cast member Sigourney Weaver, however, must depart the production for a movie gig, so Julie White (a Tony winner for “The Little Dog Laughed”) will step into Weaver’s role to appear alongside cast members David Hyde Pierce, Kristine Nielsen, Shalita Grant and Billy Magnussen, all of whom were nommed for Tonys.
“Christmas Story,” which got a performance showcase during the Tonycast as one of the night’s nominated new musicals, won’t return to a Broadway house for its return stint in Gotham but will instead play the larger Theater at Madison Square Garden for a shorter amount of time. The musical’s Gotham stint (Dec. 11-29) will cap off a mini-tour that also has the show skedded for stops in Hartford, Conn. (Nov. 12-17) and Boston (Nov. 20-Dec. 8).
With the musical set for road houses larger than the traditional Broadway theater, producers of “Christmas Story” hope to capitalize on the short holiday window when Yuletide product is in demand, packing in bigger crowds in a shorter timespan. Last year “Christmas Story” sold like gangbusters on Broadway in the frames immediately proceeding the Christmas holiday.
Both shows can hope to benefit from the media spotlight the Tonys have focused on them, with “Vanya and Sonia” aiming to attract some summertime biz among playgoers attracted by the title’s newly won hardware and “Christmas Story” hoping to have piqued national interest from ceremony viewers who caught the production’s seg featuring tapdancing moppets.