When “Peter and the Starcatcher” shifts from Broadway to Off Broadway this spring, it’ll be the latest in a string of shows encouraged to brave the risks of the Off Broadway market bolstered by a Rialto profile they cultivated first.
Producers announced in the fall that “Peter” would finish up its Main Stem stint Jan. 20; it will now reopen at Off Broadway’s New World Stages in an open-ended run that begins perfs in March.
The show arrives at New World with five Tonys under its belt for its Broadway run, which opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theater in April. Never a monster earner, the show nonetheless logged a notable uptick in sales during the Thanksgiving frame that suggests the “Peter Pan” prequel has begun to click with tourist auds.
In recent years, the increasingly fragile economics of the Off Broadway scene — hampered by smaller houses that generally ensured potential grosses couldn’t keep up with rising production costs — has encouraged producers to aim for Broadway with more intimately scaled productions that might have carved out a life Off Broadway in past decades. “Avenue Q,” “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and “Spring Awakening” are among the indie-flavored, smaller-sized outings to find success on the Rialto.
The past few years, though, have seen producers eke out further revenue from a property by moving an established Rialto name to a relatively less costly berth Off Broadway — often the spawning ground of such titles in the first place. “Avenue Q” is still running at New World Stages, where the show moved in 2009 after the end of its Broadway run, while “Rent,” “The 39 Steps” and “Million Dollar Quartet” also followed up Rialto engagements with stints Off Broadway.
Like those shows, “Peter” is a relatively small-scale outing with a low-tech aesthetic, a cast of a dozen and a small band. The showed, developed by Disney Theatrical Prods. but brought to the Rialto and now to New World Stages under the commercial auspices of a team led by Nancy Nagel Gibbs, first bowed in Gotham at nonprofit New York Theater Workshop in 2011, then took about a year to come together for the Rialto.
Exact dates for the Off Broadway run have yet to be set.