This unusual and worrisome state of affairs will be created by the Aug. 31 closings of Matthew Barber's new play, Enchanted April, and the smash revival of O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night. A third Broadway play, Say Goodnight, Gracie, shuttered on Aug. 24.
Exacerbating the situation is the fact that the nonprofit Roundabout Theatre Company, which often furnishes Broadway with plays when no commercial producer does, is currently offering a musicals-only diet: Cabaret, Nine and Big River.
By contrast, on Sept. 2, 2002, there were five plays running on Broadway: Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, I'm Not Rappaport, Metamorphoses, Proof and The Tale of the Allergist's Wife. (A sixth play, Private Lives, closed on Sept. 1.)
The no-play situation will persist throughout September, changing only on Oct. 2 with the first preview at the Booth Theatre of William Nicholson's play Retreat from Moscow, starring John Lithgow and Eileen Atkins. By Oct. 4, Broadway will have a whopping three new plays, as William Gibson's one-woman bio-play about Golda Meir, Golda's Balcony, begins previews at the Helen Hayes Theatre.
By the end of October, the arrival of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, Greenberg's own The Violet Hour and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof will have turned the Broadway play famine into a feast.