A Broadway revival of The Front Page, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s classic 1928 comedy set in the world of the Chicago newspaper business, officially opened October 20 at the Broadhurst Theatre.
Back in 1928, when The Front Page is set, Broadway theatre critics would see shows on their opening nights, then rush back to their newspaper offices and pound out reviews in time for the late-night edition.
Opening night celebrations were underscored with tension as producers, press agents, writers, cast members, and creatives awaited the delivery of the latest review.
The tradition, which went out of fashion in the 1970’s, is being revived as an “homage to the glory days of print media, during which time The Front Page is set.” An early curtain time was set to allow critics extra time to write and file their reviews.
Since at least the 1990's, Broadway first-string critics have been allowed to attend a range of dates, usually during the last few previews. The idea is that the extra writing time results in more thoughtful reviews.
As a result, nearly every major publication posts their pre-written reviews while the official opening night performance is still underway. In some cases, reviews have been published before the curtain rises on opening night.
Critics are still filing reviews, and Playbill.com will update as they are published. Check back for the latest updates.
The Associated Press (Mark Kennedy)
The Chicago Tribune (Chris Jones)
DC Metro Theatre Arts (Richard Seff)
Deadline (Jeremy Gerard)
Hollywood Reporter (David Rooney)
New York Daily News (Joe Dziemianowicz)
The New York Times (Ben Brantley)
Time Out New York (David Cote)
Wall Street Journal (Terry Teachout)
The Washington Post (Peter Marks)
The Wrap (Robert Hofler)
The company stars Nathan Lane, John Slattery, John Goodman, Jefferson Mays, Sherie Rene Scott, Holland Taylor and Robert Morse, along with Dylan Baker, Patricia Conolly, Halley Feiffer, Dann Florek, John Magaro, Danny Mastrogiorgio, Christopher McDonald, David Pittu, Joey Slotnick, Lewis J. Stadlen, Micah Stock, and Clarke Thorell.
Jack O’Brien directs the revival, which is playing a limited engagement through January 29, 2017.
“The press room of Chicago’s Criminal Courts Building is buzzing with reporters covering the story of an escaped prisoner,” according to press notes. “When star reporter Hildy Johnson (Slattery) accidentally discovers the runaway convict, he and his editor Walter Burns (Lane) conspire to hide the man from the other reporters, while they chase the biggest scoop of their careers.”
The Front Page premiered August 14, 1928, at the Times Square Theatre, in a production staged by George S. Kaufman. The play was heralded for its rapid-fire dialogue written by former newspaper men Hecht and MacArthur, and was one of four hits in a row in the early career of its producer, Jed Harris.
Tickets are on sale via Telecharge.com at (212) 239-6200.
(Updated October 21, 2016)