Ben Brantley called J.T. Rogers’ drama about the 1993 accord between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization “crackling theater” when he reviewed it over the summer. Since transferring from Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi Newhouse to the Vivian Beaumont, it sold a healthy $297,000 in its first four previews, buoyed by LCT members with access to discounted tickets.
One of the season’s most anticipated musical revivals, the Scott Rudin-produced Hello, Dolly!, got off to a fast start in Broadway’s top-selling and best-attended week of the year.
The show grossed $1.4 million in five previews, according to the Broadway League. Both its $750 top seat and $196 average ticket were second only to Hamilton: An American Musical, which has an $849 top ticket and $267 average last week. The numbers confirm that Dolly!, with Midler singing on Broadway for the first time since Bette! Divine Madness in 1979, is on track to be the top-grossing new production of the spring. The classic last appeared on Broadway two decades ago, with Carol Channing reprising a role she played repeatedly on Broadway and on tour.
In an unusual reversal caused by the departure of its No. 2 theater critic, the New York Times relinquished its support of Significant Other once it arrived on Broadway.
What Charles Isherwood deemed “an entirely delightful new play” in his 2015 review off Broadway at the Roundabout, Ben Brantley found to be a “bubbly, teary comedy” that is reminiscent of Wendy Wasserstein but “talks too much and too explicitly” and might be more satisfying 20 minutes shorter. The review, which appears on page C3 in the paper rather than the section front, isn’t cited as a “critics’ pick.”
EXCLUSIVE: With a search underway to fill one of the highest-profile jobs in theater criticism, influential playwrights are pressing for diversity.
They’re among more than 800 in and outside of theater who signed a petition requesting the New York Times hire either a woman of color or a transgender person of color to replace Charles Isherwood, the second-string reviewer who was fired earlier this month. “For as long as I’ve been reading the Times, it’s been white men,” Winter Miller, the playwright who started the petition, said about its full-time theater reviewers. “Trump’s cabinet has more diversity.”
UPDATED THROUGHOUT: The New York Times is seeking a full-time theater critic to replace Charles Isherwood.
Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy confirmed Isherwood’s departure as the No. 2 theater critic, but said the paper doesn’t discuss personnel matters. Isherwood joined the Times from Variety in 2004. He declined to comment.
The position has been one of the most influential in theater journalism. Its current minimum salary is $2,075 a week, said Grant Glickson, the president of the NewsGuild of New York and a staff assistant and head of the bargaining unit at the Times. That’s just above the Broadway performer minimum of $1,974, according to Actors’ Equity.
In Transit, the low-grossing new musical that Bill and Hillary Clinton saw Wednesday night, is losing less money than you might think.
As Broadway’s first a cappella musical, it doesn’t employ musicians, besides 11 hardworking onstage actor-vocalists, including one who does percussion. (Steven “HeaveN” Cantor and Chesney Snow alternate in the role of “Boxman.”)
According to a budget filed over the summer with the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, to pay expenses the production needs minimum weekly sales of $439,000. (The figure includes credit card commissions and other extras that count toward Broadway League official grosses.) Lead producer Janet Rosen said in an interview that because the show was budgeted conservatively, actual breakeven is below $400,000. Sales last week were $338,000.