‘Boeing-Boeing’ jets to recoupment

Comedy nets return on investment

In a neat reversal of fortune from its original appearance on Broadway, when it closed after just 23 performances, the Tony-winning Rialto revival of 1960s comedy of errors “Boeing-Boeing” has recouped its $2.65 million investment.

Originally staged in London’s West End, where it ran for a year, Matthew Warchus’ production opened at Broadway’s Longacre Theater on May 4 and won Tonys for revival and lead actor in a play (Mark Rylance).

The Marc Camoletti sex romp about a womanizing American architect in Paris and his revolving door of flight attendant fiancees was considered a high-risk transfer for Broadway. The original New York run was a notorious flop — plus U.S. theatergoers have often been lukewarm to farce, and there was a shortage of affection for the instantly dated 1965 Paramount movie starring Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis.

“This was never an automatic fit for London, either, given that it was sort of a dead play,” lead producer Sonia Friedman told Daily Variety. “But I decided to do it because I thought people needed to laugh.

“In New York the word of mouth kicked in quickly and it really just skyrocketed,” she added. “The wraps defied all the slow trends over the summer, and even in this climate of uncertainty it’s still doing fine.”

Grosses for the Rialto run are at $9.2 million.

The production is being packaged to begin a North American tour in fall 2009. Friedman is also lead producer on the Broadway transfer from London’s Royal Court Theater of “The Seagull,” which opened Thursday.Kristin Scott Thomas and Peter Sarsgaard star.