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‘It’s Only A Play’ Turns a Broadway Profit

It’s only a hit: Starry Broadway comedy “It’s Only a Play,” a megaseller since it began performances in October, has recouped its $3.9 million capitalization, according to the show’s producers.

The backstage comedy’s speedy journey into the black isn’t a surprise, given the powerhouse grosses that are more common to razzledazzle musicals than to straight plays. Thanks to a critical mass of big-name stars including Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Megan Mullally, Stockard Channing, Rupert Grint and F. Murray Abraham, the title has grossed more than $1 million per week since its first full week of eight performances, with its best tally yet (for the week ending Dec. 7) coming in at $1.4 million. The consistent strength of the show’s box office has propelled producers to decide to move the production next door to the Jacobs Theater for an extended run, ceding its current home, the Schoenfeld, to the incoming production of Helen Mirren starrer “The Audience.”

The play becomes the first production of the 2014-15 season to recoup — although the season’s unusually long list of other big-money, star-driven plays (such as Bradley Cooper starrer “The Elephant Man” and Hugh Jackman topliner “The River”) seem poised to turn a profit swiftly as well.

Juggernaut sales are certain to continue for “It’s Only a Play” through early January, when Lane will depart the show to topline “The Iceman Cometh” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in January. Martin Short will fill in for him, with Broadway fave Katie Finneran and “30 Rock” alum Maulik Pancholy rotating in later in January when Mullally and Grint exit. Whether the “It’s Only a Play” continues to sell as strongly with its new cast additions remains to be seen.

Tom Kirdahy, Roy Furman and Ken Davenport lead the producing team of “It’s Only a Play.” Kirdahy is also shepherding a production of the musical “The Visit” toward Broadway, with the aim of getting it in sooner rather than later.

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