Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Broadway: Without Nathan Lane, “It’s Only a Play” Box Office Is Off By a Million Bucks


Does Nathan Lane have drawing power on Broadway? Evidently, a lot. When he and Matthew Broderick were starring in “It’s Only a Play” during the fall, the average weekly box office was well over a million dollars. The comedy was pulling in weeks of $1.3 million and $1.4 million. The absolute zenith came the week of January 4th– Lane’s last week–at $1,455,818.

Almost four weeks later, the graph for “It’s Only a Play” is pretty shocking. Lane is gone, replaced by the tremendously talented Martin Short. Lane isn’t the only thing gone. So are the receipts. Last week, the show took in $462.008. A million bucks have left the theater with Lane.

Still, “It’s Only a Play” goes on. The producers just announced a new extension through mid June. The very funny comedy is playing at 87% capacity. This is nothing to sneeze at. “It’s Only a Play” is only a play after all. It was doing business like a hit musical. But if the graph on were a real EKG on a human being, the patient would be dead. Luckily, that’s not the case here.

Short and Broderick are still there, by the way, as are Oscar nominee Stockard Channing and Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham. They added one of Broadway’s greats, Tony winner Katie Finneran. Plus Micah Stock remains, hilarious as ever. And the show added Maulik Pancholy, who was so deft as Alec Baldwin’s long suffering assistant on “30 Rock” for years.

I’m going back in the next couple of weeks to see this cast. This Terrence McNally comedy is a hoot– I haven’t laughed that hard in a comedy since “Noises Off.” A good winter pick me up, that’s for sure!

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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