Like a mathematical theorem with a series of steps but no final answer, Broadway’s Copenhagen moves into what producers have termed the “last weeks” of its run without actually announcing a closing date.
For weeks, Copenhagen was rumored to be closing shortly after the New Year, rather than recasting its three acclaimed stars, Blair Brown, Philip Bosco and Michael Cumpsty. A Boneau/Bryan-Brown production spokesperson confirmed (Nov. 16) that advertisements were beginning to run announcing that these are the play’s final weeks on Broadway; however, no official closing date has been set. Asked if the producers still might extend or recast if sales pick up, the spokesperson said, “I don’t think anything’s being ruled out.”
For the week ending Nov. 12, Copenhagen grossed $231,522, a bit more than half the house’s potential. Michael Frayn’s Tony-winning drama filled 58.33 percent of its seats.
With only three actors and a minimal set design, the play — which weeks ago recouped its investment costs — is certainly cheaper to run than big budget musicals, which often need to gross $400,000-$500,000 weekly just to make their nut. However, there remains a bottleneck of plays and musicals seeking a Broadway house, and if producers feel a hit is in the offing, it makes business sense to pull the plug on a show that’s financially just getting by.
Copenhagen did get some good news this week: it’s one of the rare non-musical shows to be honored with an original cast recording — this one released Nov. 13, by the Fynsworth Alley label. While nearly all Broadway musicals get preserved on CD these days, it’s still relatively rare to find spoken-word original cast CDs. Exceptions have been made for plays that rely on particularly intricate or vivid dialogue, such as Spalding Gray’s It’s a Slippery Slope or David Hare’s solo, Via Dolorosa. Frayn’s drama falls into that category, as it follows the arguments of two genius scientists and questions which of them was more humanitarian in his labors. Actors Brown, Bosco and Cumpsty, the original Broadway cast (and still in the show) are featured on the disk, which launches Fynsworth Alley’s “Plays on Disc” division. Frayn’s play speculates on the possible outcome of a real-life1941 meeting between two famed physicists, one Danish (and with the Allies) and one German (Axis).
The Copenhagen CD is currently available only at the Fynsworth Alley website — www.fynsworthalley.com — and will then go onsale to other markets in three months.
For tickets and information on Copenhagen at the Royale Theatre call (212) 239-6200.