A Tony-winning show bows out and a dual-diva Broadway drama opens its ticket sales.... all in all a bad-news/good-news Tuesday for New York theatre.
Regarding the bad news: The Color Purple, the brilliantly conceived/critically acclaimed production—directed by John Doyle—that snagged a Best Musical Revival Tony just five months ago posted a January 8, 2017 closing date yesterday morning, bringing the head count for Broadway closings between New Year’s Eve and the end of January to a staggering—shameful?—eleven.
What makes this list so heart-wrenching is not limited runs, like The Encounter and Les Liaisons Dangereuses—we knew these precious windows were set to slam down from the outset—but rather the forced adieu to ten+ years of the Tony winning Jersey Boys and Matilda, a personal favorite that opened 4/11/13. And do not get me started on The Humans, a nerve-striking drama that should be required viewing for anyone who has managed to suffer/survive a holiday family gathering. Another Tony winner, The Humans brought us two of Broadway’s most coveted stars: Jane Houdyshell and Reed Birney.
As for The Color Purple’s departure—well, it comes with a unique sense of loss when you take into account the luminous performance of Broadway newcomer Cynthia Erivo, who walked away with a Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role In a Musical Tony.
To supposedly cushion the blow of Color Purple’s exodus, the announcement of its end game comes with the news of a national tour set to begin next fall. Cold comfort to international theatregoers who look to Broadway for the kind of classic and innovative shows that are heading out. And while the incoming crop has its promising elements, the sense of loss still haunts the Broadway scene.
Moving on to the good news—i.e., one of the most promising of the new season’s promising shows is Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes starring starring Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon, directed by Daniel Sullivan will be opening its Telecharge gates to AMEX card members tomorrow morning. Audience Rewards members can grab up their tickets starting 11/8, while general public sales hit the market on 11/15. (Telecharge.com or 212-239-6200.)
As for the show—described by Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC) as “a thrilling coup”—the two celebrated actresses will alternate in the drama’s two pivotal roles (Regina and Birdie), appearing opposite each other at each performance, a switcheroo strategy that calls to mind John C. Riley and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in Sam Shepard’s True West back in 2000.
Adding to the absolute irresistibility of this project is the show’s Tony-winning director Daniel Sullivan whose history with Linney and Nixon at MTC is impressive: he directed Linney to Tony nominations in both Sight Unseen and Time Stands Still and Nixon to a Tony Award the Pulitzer Prize-winning Rabbit Hole—all MTC productions.
As for the play itself. it’s an high-octane, pull-out-all-the-vitriol-stops Lillian Hellman work pitting ruthless family members against one another in Alabama circa 1900.
More on The Little Foxes as additional casting is announced...