By the standards of a Broadway play—particularily a cerebral one about English academic culture, written by a largely unknown playwright—The History Boys enjoyed an amazingly successful run. The show opened to the best reviews for a new play in the 2005-06 Broadway season. Tickets were highly sought after and the Broadhurst Theatre never lacked for audiences. Additionally, star Richard Griffiths, who plays an inspirational teacher, became something of a local celebrity.
The play won six Tony Awards on June 11, including Best Play. Originally, the show was to have closed on Sept. 3. But the Tony broadcast resulted in a bonanza at the box office. History Boys collected $200,000 in sales by the end of Monday June 12. That number is considered huge for a non-musical. (The usual Monday take for the Alan Bennett play is $100,000.) The production soon extended.
It also won the Best Play award from the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League.
Producers of The History Boys previously announced the production has recouped its investment.
Also winning Tonys were Richard Griffiths (Best Actor in a Play), Frances de la Tour (Best Featured Actress in a Play) and Nicholas Hytner (Best Direction of a Play).
The History Boys was the first big success to come out of producers Bob Boyett and Bill Haber's deal with the Royal National Theatre, in which they have first dibs on Broadway transfers of National plays.
Next up at the Broadhurst will be the revival of the musical Les Miserables.