Producers had been exploring a limited Broadway run for the hot-ticket, marquee-heavy revival of the 1896 play by Anton Chekhov, with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline at its core, but the complicated schedules of the artists are said to have scuttled the Broadway plan, an insider told Playbill On-Line. Stage management informed the company at the Aug. 24 performance. The final performance is Aug. 26.
Skeptics said it would be hard for a limited run to recoup (an eight-week schedule had been mentioned), even if the Academy Award-winning stars worked for Broadway minimum. Others thought producers would want the prestige production on their resumes even if they lost money.
Playbill On-Line reported Aug. 9 that a Broadway run was being explored, and The Public Theater later confirmed the news, adding that the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway was one of the target venues. But even up to the Aug. 24 backstage announcement, availability of performers was still being explored, according to a Public spokesperson, who said the plan was still in the mulling stage.
The production of the rueful country comedy began July 24 at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. The tragicomedy concerns an extended family of theatre people and creative types on a rural estate in Russia. The cast includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marcia Gay Harden, Debra Monk, Larry Pine, John Goodman, Natalie Portman, Stephen Spinella and Christopher Walken. The staging marks Streep's return to the theatre after a 20-year absence. The free summer staging became one of the most-coveted tickets in town, with people sleeping overnight on the edge of the park and downtown at The Public, where tickets are distributed daily in the afternoon.
— By Kenneth Jones