×

Tony Noms Won’t Save ‘Testament of Mary’

With star Fiona Shaw left out of acting category, slow-selling play will shutter

Ink on the Tony nominations is barely dry and already one show has called it quits: Sales-challenged “The Testament of Mary” will shutter May 5 after a short run.

It’s common for struggling productions to post notice after coming up empty-handed in the awards race, but in the case of “Testament,” it’s a little more complicated. After all, the world preem of Colm Toibin’s play, produced by a team led by Scott Rudin, earned three nods, including one for new play plus design noms for Jennifer Tipton (lights) and Mel Mercier (sound).

However, star Fiona Shaw, who plays the Virgin Mary in the solo show, was locked out of the lead actress race, an extremely competitive category that also didn’t find a spot for big-name thesps including Bette Midler and Scarlett Johansson. Director Deborah Warner was similarly excluded from the director category, suggesting nominators were more taken with Toibin’s script than the production in which it bowed.

Producers seem to have decided, probably rightly, that without a Tony-endorsed sense that Shaw gives a must-see performance, box office has little likelihood of improving. Most legiters believe, in any event, that the only Tony category that can really move the needle on sales is new musical.

“Testament of Mary” began perfs March 26 and never caught on with auds, with preview weeks of six or seven perfs each that never cracked $200,000 per sesh. Last week, during the eight-perf frame that included its April 22 opening, the show pulled in $216,533 and played to 76% capacity.

The show has been the focus of a handful of sparse and seemingly perfunctory protests by Christian groups objecting to the play’s frank re-examination of Mary and the crucifixion, but these never managed to draw much of a media spotlight. The largely favorable reviews seem to have gotten lost in the surge of Broadway opening last week, while others in the industry have questioned the effectiveness of the ad campaign’s dour key art.

On the show’s producing team with Rudin are Stuart Thompson and Jon B. Platt, among others. “Testament” will close at the Walter Kerr Theater after a total of 27 previews and 16 regular perfs.

More Legit

  • By the Way Meet Vera Stark

    Off Broadway Review: 'By the Way, Meet Vera Stark' by Lynn Nottage

    After writing two harrowing Pulitzer Prize-winning plays, “Sweat” and “Ruined,” Lynn Nottage is entitled to have a little fun. But while this revival of her new play, “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark,” walks and talks like a screwball comedy, it has a real brain in its head. Before we get too serious, let’s meet [...]

  • Merrily We Roll AlongRoundabout Theatre CompanyMERRILY

    Off Broadway Review: 'Merrily We Roll Along'

    Like the optimistic youths at the end — or is it the beginning? — of “Merrily We Roll Along,” creatives keep going back to this problematic Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical, re-imagining the show in the hope that the end results will be different this time around. They’re not. But disappointments are often off-set by new [...]

  • My Fair Lady Laura Benanti

    Listen: Laura Benanti on 'My Fair Lady' and the Secret to Her Melania Trump Impersonation

    Laura Benanti is now playing her dream role on Broadway. At the same time, the Tony winner (“Gypsy”) is also playing her toughest part ever. Listen to this week’s podcast below: “It’s the most demanding part I think I’ll probably play,” said Benanti, now appearing as Eliza Doolittle in Lincoln Center Theater’s well-received revival of [...]

  • Hamilton West End Production.

    'Hamilton' Panic Over Mistaken Reports of Gunfire Injures Three in San Francisco

    Three people were injured after mistaken reports of an active shooter at a San Francisco production of “Hamilton” caused attendees to flee the theater. CNN reported that a woman experienced a medical emergency — later determined to be a heart attack — during a scene in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s play wherein Founding Father Alexander Hamilton is shot on [...]

  • The American Clock review

    London Theater Review: 'The American Clock'

    Time is money. Money is time. Both come unstuck in “The American Clock.” Arthur Miller’s kaleidoscopic account of the Great Depression, part autobiography, part social history, crawls through the decade after the Wall Street crash, dishing up snapshots of daily life. In the Old Vic’s classy revival, director Rachel Chavkin (“Hadestown”) tunes into the play’s [...]

  • Jake Gyllenhaal

    Off Broadway Review: Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Sea Wall/A Life'

    Comfy? Okay, let’s talk Death: sudden death, painful death, lingering death, accidental death, and whatever other kinds of death happen to come into the receptive minds of playwrights Simon Stephens (“Sea Wall”) and Nick Payne (“A Life”). The writing in these separate monologues — playing together on a double bill at the Public Theater — [...]

  • Michael Jackson Estate Cancels Musical Test-Run

    Michael Jackson Estate Cancels Musical Test-Run

    With an HBO documentary that places strong allegations of abuse against Michael Jackson premiering in two weeks, the late singer’s estate announced Thursday that it’s canceling a scheduled Chicago test run of a jukebox musical about him. The estate and its producing partner in the musical, Columbia Live Stage, said that they’re setting their sights on going [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content