Legit naysayers said it was no longer possible, but two plays — and maybe a third — have recouped their investment on Broadway.
Ron Kastner, producer of “True West,” announced that the Sam Shepard drama at the Circle in the Square has made back its initial investment of $900,000. The play about two brothers — one a thief, the other a screenwriter — had been performed Off Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theater and the Public Theater in the early 1980s, but never on Broadway.
The uptown production of “True West,” directed by Matthew Warchus, opened March 3, with Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly rotating leading roles. Throughout those actors’ five-month run, the production hovered just under or at its $300,202 gross potential. Josh Brolin and Elias Koteas assumed the leading roles June 21, and it will be reviewed Sunday. Last week, the show grossed $94,119.
B.O. chain reaction
Michael Frayn’s “Copenhagen,” which opened April 11, and went on to win the Tony Award for best play, has also recouped its investment, estimated at $1.5 million. After nearly 100 performances, the drama inspired by a 1941 meeting between nuclear physicists Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr continues to run at the Royale Theater, where it’s produced by James M. Nederlander, Roger Berlind, Scott Rudin, Ray Larsen, Jon B. Platt, Byron Goldman and Elizabeth Ireland McCann. Last week, it grossed $328,675 out of a potential of $457,151.
The revival of Eugene O’Neill’s “A Moon for the Misbegotten” closed July 2 after 120 performances. The production, which headlined Cherry Jones and Gabriel Byrne, is said to be near or at the break-even point.
Producers Randall L. Wreghitt, Dani Davis and Jason Howland have pushed the Broadway debut of their musical “Little Women” back to a spring opening. Based on the Louisa May Alcott classic, the project recently underwent some major retooling, with composer Jason Howland and lyricist Mindy Dickstein replacing composer Kim Oler and lyricist Allison Hubbard. Allan Knee is book writer. Nov. 15 had been tentatively planned as the show’s original opening date.
“We replaced a composer and a lyricist and all the legalities that entails,” said Wreghitt, who most recently was a producer on the Off Broadway production of “The Waverly Gallery,” by Kenneth Lonergan. “It all got wrapped up a week ago, and it just didn’t allow us the time to open this fall.”
The producers plan to take the tuner out of town for tryouts. “Boston has dates for us in the spring,” Wreghitt said.
If “Little Women” had opened in November, it would have been premiered in the autumn company of such tuners as David Yazbek’s “The Full Monty,” John Caird & Paul Gordon’s “Jane Eyre” and Stephen Flaherty & Lynn Ahrens’ “Seussical.” Coming in spring, it will most likely share the spotlight with the Roundabout revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies,” Don Schlitz’s “Tom Sawyer” and John Kander & Fred Ebb’s “The Visit,” which will also get a tryout in Boston.