‘Hand to God’ Sets Broadway Closing, London Opening

Hand to God,” the gleefully dark Broadway comedy about a boy and his potentially satanic hand puppet, will close in January before opening on London’s West End in February.

Robert Askins’ play, a downtown hit that originated at the Ensemble Studio Theater before getting picked up for a repeat run at MCC Theater, earned strong reviews and five Tony Awards nominations, but was always a risky bet for the Broadway market, thanks to a small-scale, edgy vibe and R-rated antics. The play has struggled to gain sales momentum ever since it began performances in March, with weekly grosses hovering below $300,000 for the last several weeks.

Produced on Broadway by Kevin McCollum (“Something Rotten!”), “Hand to God” carries low running costs, but nonetheless seems unlikely to recoup its capitalization costs of about $3 million.

Investors, however, can make some money back in future productions, including the upcoming run at London’s Vaudeville Theater. Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel will stage the show there this spring with a cast that has yet to be announced. The Broadway cast notched three Tony nominations among them for Steven Boyer, Geneva Carr and Sarah Stiles.

“Hand to God” — like “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” which also just posted its closing notice — will run through the fall and take advantage of holiday tourist business before exiting in January. The show closes at Broadway’s Booth Theater Jan. 3, and will begin performances Feb. 5.

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