Not that Art, which had regularly been breaking house records at Broadway's Royale Theatre, really needed a boost at the box office, but that's what comes of winning the Tony Award for Best Play.
According to spokesperson Michael Hartman, Yasmina Reza's comedy took in more than $100,000 June 8, the day after the 1998 Tony Awards gave the show a victory over The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Hartman said the six-figure tally was "triple" what Art usually does on a given day. (For the week ending May 31, Art grossed $369,646 for the entire week and was selling 83.2 percent of capacity.)
Asked whether The Lion King reaped a financial windfall from its Best Musical, Best Director and four other Tony wins, a production spokesperson told Playbill On-Line the Walt Disney company doesn't release box office figures. The source did say "we did very well" and mentioned, but did not confirm, published reports in other sources noting Lion King took in more than half a million dollars on that day.
A View From The Bridge, which took Tonys for Best Play Revival and star Anthony LaPaglia, did "three times its normal volume for a Monday," a production spokesperson told Playbill On-Line. The spokesperson declined to give the actual box office figures but did say the show would not extend past its July 19 intended close at the Neil Simon Theatre.
Despite losing Best Musical to Lion King, Ragtime also saw an uptick in its finances. A show spokesperson declined to release figures but did say the show had "doubled" its previous Monday grosses. The spokesperson noted that a new block of tickets had recently gone on sale, with seats available through May 1999. At the Tonys, Ragtime took awards for best book (Terrence McNally), best score (Flaherty & Ahrens) and Featured Actress (Audra McDonald), but lost Best Musical to The Lion King. For the week ending May 31, Ragtime grossed $872,860, filling 99.1 percent of capacity. As for Art, French playwright Reza's comedy is still doing well in London, too. Art, which opened Oct. 1996 at Wyndham's Theatre, recently extended its booking there to October 1998.
Art tells the story of three Parisian friends who fall afoul of each other when one buys a work of modern art -- all white, with a few striations for texture. Since opening, the show has pulled in nearly £7 million in ticket sales and has won both the 1996 Evening Standard and 1997 Olivier Best Comedy awards.
The winning script has also attracted a steady stream of top-rate actors of the stage and screen. Alan Alda, Victor Garber and Tony nominee Alfred Molina star in the Broadway version. In England, the show is now on its fourth cast -- Nigel Havers, Ron Cook and Malcolm Storry. Previous trios have comprised Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Ken Stott (who opened the run); Mark Williams, Anton Lesser and David Haig; and Henry Goodman, Roger Allam and Stanley Townsend.
Reza, director Matthew Warchus and Christopher Hampton, who translated Art from the French, were reunited this spring when the Royal Shakespeare Company produced Reza's British premiere of L'Homme du Hasard (or The Unexpected Man). The play, a sell-out at London's Barbican Pit Theatre in April, tells of middle-aged novelist Paul and his life-long fan Martha who meet on a train journey. The show begins previews at the Duchess Theatre June 10 for a June 15 opening. Michael Gambon (Skylight) and Eileen Atkins (Indiscretions) star.
Asked about interest in Reza's new play now that Art has won the Tony, a spokesperson at Boneau/Bryan-Brown told Playbill On-Line (June 9), "North American production plans are currently being explored by producers Elizabeth I. McCann and Terry Allen Kramer."
Reza has won several awards in her native France for her works, including Moliere awards for Best Author and Best Fringe production and in 1995 a Moliere award for Best Author for L'Homme du Hasard.
For tickets and information on Art at the Royale Theatre, 242 West 45th St., call (212) 239-6200.