Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"I wish you the Cort Theatre in February!"

The revival of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge is only one week into previews for its limited engagement at the Cort Theatre and already there is a second tenant lined up for the venue on 48th Street for the spring. The revival of August Wilson's Fences starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis will open at the theatre on April 26.

The Cort Theatre hasn't exactly been the most desirable house in the history of Broadway, it's located on the "wrong" side of the street, seemingly out of the way from the rest of the major houses (on 48th Street, next to Sam Ash, near the Fox News Building). The medium sized theatre contains 1100 seats and is ideal for both plays and smaller musicals. However, even though it's not as far from the vicinity of Times Square as the Virginia, Neil Simon or Gershwin, it still manages to feel remote. During the 50s, the show housed popular Tony-winning successes like The Diary of Anne Frank and Sunrise at Campobello. The longest run at the theatre was the Stephen Schwartz-Doug Henning musical The Magic Show, which ran 1,920 performance in the mid-to-late '70s.

However, most shows that play at the Shubert owned and operated theatre have had a tendency to not do well (Radio Golf, Bobbi Boland, A Year with Frog and Toad, Barefoot in the Park revival, The Little Dog Laughed, On Golden Pond revival, Hollywood Arms, Marlene, Kat and the Kings - and this just a selection from the last ten years). However, non-profit transfers (The 39 Steps and The Heiress) and limited engagements (You're Welcome America and The Blue Room) have found success there.

The first half of 2010 will keep the real estate occupied with two star-studded events - Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johannson for 16 weeks in the Arthur Miller revival, and Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in the August Wilson. Perhaps the key to successfully housing the theatre is to maintain the movie star engagements that have been the great financial successes of the season to date (A Steady Rain and Hamlet).

Cubby Bernstein
, the memorable wunderkind producer behind the Xanadu Tony campaign cursed someone over the phone with the quote in the title of this post. However, after You're Welcome America and A View from a Bridge, the Cort Theatre in February may be a blessing after all.

1 comment:

Monica said...

Do you mean Radio Golf instead of Radio Gold?