×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Off Broadway’s Mysterious ‘White Rabbit Red Rabbit’ Turns a Profit With Rotating Stars

“White Rabbit Red Rabbit” is now in the black. The Off Broadway play has recouped its capitalization costs with an unusual model that sees the show perform once a week with a different actor taking on the play’s single role at every outing.

With no set or costumes to speak of, “White Rabbit Red Rabbit” was capitalized at a frugal $75,000, according to producers Devlin Elliott and Tom Kirdahy of Maberry Theatricals. But its commercial success, and the staying power demonstrated over a run of 34 weeks (and counting), nonetheless represent a notable achievement on an economically challenging Off Broadway landscape — especially since the show trades on mystery, advocating that audiences come in knowing as little as possible about the 75-minute production.

What audiences do know is the gimmick: At each performance, the actor is handed the script for the first time, and he or she acts it out right then and there, script in hand. Performers have included Nathan Lane, Kyra Sedgwick, Whoopi Goldberg, Darren Criss, F. Murray Abraham, Ramin Karimloo, Martin Short, Brian Dennehy and the upcoming Brian Stokes a Mitchell, on the hook for the Nov. 28 show.

The play’s conceit, and its unpredictability, have helped the production build momentum despite a once-a-week performance schedule in an intimate space of less than 250 seats. (Tickets ring in at $79 apiece, with a $125 premium.) An actor’s fan base often helps power box office — producers cite a recent appearance by Stana Katic of “Castle” as particularly popular — but the show has also picked up its share of avids who come back multiple times to see different actors take on the part.

At the outset, both the audience and the actor know little more about the play other than the fact that it’s written by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour — who is forbidden from leaving his country — and that it’s an allegorical tale that resonates with the theme of giving voice to the voiceless. It’s billed as part drama, part comedy and part social experiment.

The show is now scheduled to play through Dec. 19, with actors on tap including Micah Stock (“It’s Only a Play”) and James Roday (“Psych”). The producers haven’t yet decided whether the production will return after a holiday break, and are now weighing factors that include advance ticket sales and the challenges of lining up game talent for one-time-only stints.

The Off Broadway run of “White Rabbit Red Rabbit,” produced in association with Aurora Nova Productions and Boat Rocker Entertainment, continues tonight with Nancy Travis. Tickets are currently on sale through Dec. 19.

More Legit

  • Playwright Mark Medoff author of "Children

    Mark Medoff, 'Children of a Lesser God' Playwright, Dies at 79

    Mark Medoff, the playwright who wrote Tony Award-winning play “Children of a Lesser God,” died Tuesday in Las Cruces, N.M. He was 79. His daughter Jessica Medoff Bunchman posted news of his death on Facebook, and the Las Cruces Sun-News attributed the cause to cancer. “Children of a Lesser God” starred John Rubinstein and Phyllis Frelich [...]

  • Ink review

    Broadway Review: 'Ink' With Jonny Lee Miller

    Garish, lurid and brash, “Ink,” the British import now on Broadway in a Manhattan Theatre Club production, is the theatrical equivalent of its subject, the UK’s Daily Sun — the newspaper that reshaped British journalism and propelled Rupert Murdoch’s ascent to media mogul. Like the tabloid, it feels unsubstantial, rushed and icky. You can’t say [...]

  • All My Sons review

    London Theater Review: 'All My Sons' With Sally Field, Bill Pullman

    If “All My Sons” is showing its age, it sure shows no signs of abating. Just days after a major revival opened on Broadway, moving Annette Bening and Tracy Letts into the Tony zone, up the play pops in London. The Old Vic has arguably secured the starrier cast, too: Bill Pullman and Sally Field [...]

  • Tootsie review

    Broadway Review: 'Tootsie'

    The new Broadway adaptation of “Tootsie” is old-fashioned and proud of it — and it’s a surefire crowd-pleaser, in this musical spin on the 1982 film comedy with Santino Fontana in the Dustin Hoffman role. Robert Horn (book) and Tony-winner David Yazbek (score) have a high old time poking fun at theatrical rituals — the [...]

  • Kelli O'Hara

    Listen: How Kelli O'Hara Brings #MeToo to 'Kiss Me, Kate'

    “Kiss Me, Kate” is one of the best-known titles in musical theater. But in this day and age, the “Taming of the Shrew”-inspired comedy’s depiction of the gender dynamic seems downright, well, problematic. Listen to this week’s podcast below: Kelli O’Hara is well aware of that, and so were her collaborators on the Roundabout Theatre [...]

  • All My Sons review

    Broadway Review: 'All My Sons' With Annette Bening

    Don’t be fooled by the placid backyard setting, neighborly small talk and father-son joviality at the start of the Roundabout Theatre Company’s blistering revival of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” starring Annette Bening and Tracy Letts. There are plenty of secrets, resentments and disillusionments ahead, poised to rip this sunny Middle Americana facade to shreds. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content