Some years, the Tony nominations are announced and Broadway shows fall like dominoes. But this year, two days after the nominations, the news is good: Tom Hanks starrer “Lucky Guy,” nominated for six Tonys, has recouped its capitalization costs, according to producers, while Nathan Lane play “The Nance,” nommed for five, has extended its limited run by eight weeks.
In the immediate wake of the nominations, another play — “The Testament of Mary” — announced it would shutter Sunday, despite scoring three nods including one for new play (a category in which it’ll compete with “Lucky Guy” but not “The Nance”). That show has been struggling to attract auds since it began perfs March 26.
But this spring, a large number of both musicals (such as nomination pack-leaders “Kinky Boots” and “Matilda”) and plays (such as “Lucky Guy” and “I’ll Eat You Last”) have attained standout box office success unusually early in their respective runs. That sales strength suggests that much of the Broadway-related news in the run-up to the Tonys may well be upbeat.
The “Lucky Guy” recoupment of its $3.6 million capitalization costs comes as no surprise, since Hanks showed his box office might right out of the gate. The play’s weekly sales have topped $1.4 million, enough to push the show into the black despite running costs that include the labor costs of a large cast plus a big-money salary for Hanks.
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With recoupment out of the way well before the limited engagement’s July 3 end date, the rest of the Nora Ephron play’s B.O. revenue (minus running costs) will essentially be pure profit for the show’s team of creatives and producers, led by Colin Callender, Roy Furman and Arielle Tepper Madover, among others.
Lincoln Center Theater’s world preem of “The Nance,” meanwhile, wasn’t nominated in the new play category but still did well with the Tony nominators, landing nods including one for lead thesp Lane, who’s a consistent draw at the Rialto box office (although not to the B.O.-busting degree that some Hollywood names like Hanks are). The show’s receipts, which last week hit $445,000, have been healthy for a nonprofit production of a non-musical with an unfamiliar title, and LCT has decided the Tony noms have spurred enough attention to warrant a significant extension. The Douglas Carter Beane play will now run through Aug. 11.
A couple of other high-profile and strong-selling play outings, Bette Midler topliner “I’ll Eat You Last” and Alan Cumming starrer “Macbeth,” were shut out entirely of the nominations list. But there’s a silver lining for those shows: Since it’s no longer necessary to accommodate Tony voters with comp tickets, the productions can put those newly available ducats up for sale for a further revenue boost.