Eric Falkenstein, who helped finance the nonprofit Manhattan Theatre Club revival of August Wilson’s Jitney, is trying to give it another life on Broadway in a commercial production.
“There are a lot of producers who say they want to jump on board,” Falkenstein said in a brief interview a day before it won the Tony Award for best revival of a play.
Tony nominated-director Ruben Santiago-Hudson wants to stage it again. “With God’s blessing, we’ll be back on Broadway with Jitney,” he said in late May on the YouTube program Inside New York.
As of Saturday, Falkenstein didn’t have a theater. He enhanced the MTC run with co-producers John Legend, Ron Simons, Mike Jackson and Ken Wirth. Sales steadily built during its 11-week run. In the last week, it sold $422,000, an impressive tally for a 650-seat house with no premium tickets.
The capitalization would be below $4 million, the producer said. David Gallo’s Tony-nominated set is in storage.
Based in the storefront of a taxi company, Jitney was the first of a 10-play series that Wilson wrote about the Hill district of Pittsburgh.
Today, Anthony Chisholm, who was in the MTC cast and a 2000 production at Second Stage, won a Richard Seff Award from the Actors’ Equity Foundation for best performance by a veteran male character actor in a supporting role. (Barbara Barrie from Significant Other was also recognized.) John Douglas Thompson, whose character runs the car service, was nominated for a Tony for best performance by an actor in a featured role.
The other MTC cast members were Brandon J. Dirden, Andre Holland, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks, Carra Patterson, Keith Randolph Smith and Ray Anthony Thomas. They may not all be available: Holland is to star in the upcoming Hulu series Castle Rock, from, among others, Stephen King and J.J. Abrams; Potts is in previews in 1984 on Broadway; and Dirden is a series regular on FX’s The Americans.
Real estate is opening up. On Sunday, John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation, which lost to Jitney in the revival category, is closing at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Lynn Nottage’s Sweat, at Studio 54, shutters a week later.
EDITOR: Alice Scovell. This post was updated.