×

Tucker Max Stage Show Detours from Broadway

'I Hope They Serve Beer on Broadway' has a tricky target demo for stage fare

It can be tough to make it to Broadway banking on straight men: The producer of the stage adaptation of Tucker Max’s frat-boys-behaving-badly chronicle “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” has pulled back on an aggressive commercial trajectory for the show, abruptly canceling an Off Broadway transfer that was to have begun July 5.

It’s impossible to confirm whether concerns over advance sales led to the decision — a rep for the show, “I Hope They Serve Beer on Broadway,” would say only that all tickets for the upcoming transfer had been refunded. But in opting for a delay that may or may not turn out to be permanent, producer and director-adaptor Christopher Carter Sanderson is exercising caution with a property that seemingly appeals to a demo that’s traditionally almost impossible to lure to the Main Stem.

I Hope They Serve Beer on Broadway” opened last month at a 99-seat Off Broadway venue and ran through June 29. The planned transfer to the 150-seat 777 Theater would have picked up perfs a week later.

“After a sold out showcase that provided an opportunity to see the show on its feet in front of live audiences, the producer has decided the best way to build on this success is to take the show back into development for a production to be announced at a later date,” said the production’s rep.

Because Off Broadway titles doesn’t report box office figures the way Broadway productions do, no sales numbers are available for the tryout run, but anecdotal evidence suggests the show sold well.  The production’s single review — an industry take on the title in Variety — may not have been glowing, but it was far from dire.

The review questioned whether a dumb lark of a show would sell as well when the move to the larger space prompted a rise in ticket prices from $20 to around $50. Average top ticket price on Broadway is double that.

As efforts in recent seasons have shown, it can be tough to drum up sales for a title that appeals predominantly to the young straight-guy crowd rather than to the middle-aged female auds who are consistently the decision makers in Main Stem ticketbuying.

With its link to “South Park,” current juggernaut “The Book of Mormon” stands out as one of the rare Broadway outings that appeals as much to dudes as to any other demographic, and comicbook tuner “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” also holds its share of appeal for the guys. The only other recent production to to prove a significant attraction to the same crowd was another title associated with a well-known comedy property, “Monty Python’s Spamalot.”

A couple of ambitious sports-related plays, meanwhile, have fizzled. Basketball bio “Magic/Bird” shuttered quickly in 2012, and while pigskin play “Lombardi” ran for around eight months during the 2010-11 season, it still closed in the red.

Although the producer had only confirmed the now-scuttled Off Broadway transfer (ticket revenue from which was to have been supplemented by sales from the venue’s bar), planning had already begun for a presumptive transfer (to be capitalized at around $6 million, according to Sanderson) that would have gotten the show to Broadway.

For now, though, it looks like Max will have to wait to find out if they serve beer there.

More Legit

  • Because of Winn Dixie review

    Regional Theater Review: 'Because of Winn Dixie,' the Musical

    Watching the musical “Because of Winn Dixie” at Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, Conn., it’s hard not to think of another show that premiered in the same regional theater 43 years ago. It, too, featured a scruffy stray dog, a lonely-but-enterprising young girl and a closed-off daddy who finally opens up. But “Winn Dixie,” based [...]

  • MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOWby

    Off Broadway Review: 'Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow'

    There’s something about Anton Chekhov’s whiny sisters that invites comic sendups of “Three Sisters” like the one Halley Feiffer wrote on commission for the Williamstown Theater Festival. Transferred to MCC Theater’s new Off Broadway space and playing in the round in a black box with limited seating capacity, the crafty show feels intimate and familiar. [...]

  • the way she spoke review

    Off Broadway Review: 'The Way She Spoke' With Kate del Castillo

    Since the 1990s, scores of women in Juarez, Mexico have been mutilated, raped, and murdered at such a rate that some have called it an epidemic of femicide—killing women and girls solely because they are women. Isaac Gomez’s play “the way she spoke,” produced Off Broadway by Audible and starring Kate del Castillo, confronts the [...]

  • HBO's 'SUCCESSION

    Brian Cox Playing LBJ in Broadway Run of 'The Great Society'

    Brian Cox will play President Lyndon Johnson in the Broadway run of “The Great Society,” playwright Robert Schenkkan’s follow-up to “All the Way.” The role of Johnson, a crude, but visionary politician who used the office of the presidency to pass landmark civil rights legislation and social programs, was originally played by Bryan Cranston in [...]

  • Paul McCartney Has Penned Score for

    Paul McCartney Has Been Secretly Writing an 'It's a Wonderful Life' Musical

    The pop superstar who once released a movie and album called “Give My Regards to Broad Street” really does have designs on Broadway, after all. It was revealed Wednesday that Paul McCartney has already written a song score for a stage musical adaptation of the 1946 Frank Capra film classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The [...]

  • The Night of the Iguana review

    West End Review: 'The Night of the Iguana' With Clive Owen

    If Tennessee Williams is the poet laureate of lost souls, none of his characters as are off-grid as the restless travelers trying to make it through his little-seen 1961 play, “The Night of the Iguana.” Holed up in a remote Mexican homestay, its ragtag itinerants live hand-to-mouth, day by day, as they seek refuge from [...]

  • Moulin Rouge Broadway

    Listen: The Special Sauce in Broadway's 'Moulin Rouge!'

    There are songs in the new Broadway version of “Moulin Rouge!” that weren’t in Baz Luhrmann’s hit movie — but you probably know them anyway. They’re popular tunes by superstars like Beyoncé, Adele and Rihanna, released after the 2001 movie came out, and they’ll probably unleash a flood of memories and associations in every audience [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content