Though ticket sales saw a boost thanks to its winning the 2000 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play, The Real Thing will end its limited Broadway run, as scheduled, Aug. 13, after 24 previews and 135 regular performances. The Donmar Warehouse revival of Tom Stoppard’s play officially opened at the Barrymore Theatre April 17, after previews starting March 29. The closing date isn't new, but for the first time, advertising for The Real Thing has used it as a selling point.
Despite almost uniformly excellent reviews, ticket sales for the revival have been soft, with the show selling less than 50 percent capacity the week before the Tonys, and taking in only $219,381 -- less than half the Barrymore's potential gross. A production spokesperson at Boneau/Bryan Brown said ticket sales "have been steadily building since the Tonys" but could not discuss specific figures.
Stephen Dillane and Jennifer Ehle opened in the Donmar revival of Stoppard's 1982 comedy June 2, 1999 (following previews from May 27). They, alongside fellow Donmar-mates Sarah Woodward and Nigel Lindsay, are part of the Broadway company, alongside Joshua Henderson, Charlotte Parry and Oscar Pearce. The production, which ran through Aug. 7, 1999 and then played the West End’s Albery Theatre (Jan. 13-March 18), was sold out.
The Real Thing was to have moved into Broadway’s Belasco on March 29, but the Belasco's tenant at the time, James Joyce’s The Dead, changed from a limited to an open run, and the Stoppard show was shifted over to the similar-sized Barrymore (according to a production source, always the producers’ first choice of theatre).
The Real Thing deals with love, marriage and adultery. In shifting perspectives, couples founder and reform, and joy and passion are acutely countered by pain and deception. Dillane, star of the feature film "Welcome to Sarajevo," plays Henry, a role played by Jeremy Irons in Real Thing’s initial Broadway sojourn. Dillane returned to the Donmar following his role last year in Endgame. Ehle, who plays Annie, is best known for her film features such as the recently released "This Year's Love" and her television roles in serials such as BBC1's "Pride and Prejudice," for which she won a BAFTA award for Best Actress in 1996.
The Real Thing is directed by David Leveaux, newly appointed as an associate director of the Donmar Warehouse. Stoppard's comedy was his third production for the theatre, following the musical Nine in 1996 and the 1997 Olivier Award-winning production of Electra, starring Zoe Wanamaker, which also transferred to Broadway. He’s on tap to direct Desire Under the Elms for the Roundabout Theatre Company next season.
Design is by Vicky Mortimer, with lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by John A Leonard.
Stoppard won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for his screenplay for the film "Shakespeare in Love." His recent theatre work includes Arcadia (Evening Standard Award for Best Play, 1993), Indian Ink (1995) and The Invention of Love (Evening Standard Award for Best Play, 1997).
The Real Thing, is being produced on Broadway by Anita Waxman, Elizabeth Williams, Ron Kastner and Miramax Films.
For tickets and information on The Real Thing at the Barrymore Theatre, 243 West 47th Street, call (212) 239-6200.