Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Broadway: Nathan Lane-Matthew Broderick Play Beats “Aladdin,” “Motown,” Sells Like a Hit Musical


I wonder if the people who are buying tickets to “It’s Only a Play” realize that it’s only a play. It is not a musical and is not the sequel to “The Producers.” But the combination of Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick has sent sales for Terrence McNally’s revival of his comedy into the stratosphere. Last week, according to numbers just released, “It’s Only a Play” nosed ahead of the hit musical “Aladdin with $1.27 million. Amazing. Remember, the “Play” hasn’t even opened yet!

The Lane-Broderick combo finished in fifth place overall, behind The Lion King, Book of Mormon, Wicked, and Kinky Boots. It was ahead of not only “Aladdin” but also “Motown: the Musical.” Let’s not forget the other cast members, all stars: Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham, Tony and Emmy winner (and Oscar nominee) Stockard Channing, Emmy winner Megan Mullally, and Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint in his first Broadway show.

Quite feat for a new show, especially in this difficult year. Finding it harder to get an audience is “This Is Our Youth,” with Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin. They managed to get the gross up this week to $418K over $372K the prior week. But that was because the ticket price went up. The actual audience decreased by a whopping 18%. I haven’t seen this play, so have no idea if it’s good or bad or whatever. Reviews were pretty good, though. Something must be missing in the marketing.

I am looking forward to Sunday’s opening of “You Can’t Take it With You.” The Kaufman-Hart comedy is a classic. James Earl Jones leads a terrific cast. Somehow their attendance went down this week from the prior week also, by 7%. Maybe a big opening and good notices will reverse the trend.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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