Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Starring Scarlet Johansson, Failed to Recoup Investment

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02 Apr 2013

Benjamin Walker and Scarlett Johansson
Benjamin Walker and Scarlett Johansson
Photo by Joan Marcus

The Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which closed on Broadway March 30, failed to recoup its investment, the New York Times reports. 

Representatives did not respond to Playbill.com's March 29 inquiry about the production's recoupment; however, the New York Times reported April 2 that a spokesperson for the play confirmed it did not return its investment. Critics offered a mixed response to the revival.

It ended its 15-week engagement, as scheduled, having played 34 previews and 84 regular performances. 

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof played to 61.7 percent capacity for the week ending March 24, grossing $647,429, and closed March 30, grossing $721,456, just under 80 percent capacity, for its final week. 

Tony Award winner Rob Ashford (Evita, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Finding Neverland) helmed the production, set within a sweltering upstairs bedroom of a sweeping Mississipi plantation, which began previews Dec. 18, 2012, and officially opened Jan. 17.



The production, which was the third revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof within a decade, marked Ashford's directorial debut of  a non-musical production on Broadway. He is known for his work on How to Succeed in Business; Promises, Promises; as well as Evita; Curtains; and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Ashford previously staged A Streetcar Named Desire and Anna Christie at the Donmar Warehouse.

Johansson (A View from the Bridge, "Matchpoint," "The Avengers") starred as Maggie opposite Walker (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," "Flags of Our Fathers," Les Liaisons Dangereuses) as Brick, with Irish actor Ciaran Hinds ("Game of Thrones," "Harry Potter") as Big Daddy and Tony Award winner Debra Monk (Curtains, Redwood Curtain) as Big Mama.

The cast was completed by Emily Bergl (Becky Shaw, "Desperate Housewives") and Michael Park (Middletown, How to Succeed...) as intrusive kin Mae and Gooper, respectively, with Vin Knight as Reverend Tooker, Brian Reddy as Doctor Baugh, as well as Will Cobbs, Tanya Birl, Jordan Dean, Lance Roberts and Cherene Snow.

Ciaran Hinds
photo by Joan Marcus

"Well, the play is very musical," Walker told Playbill in a previous interview. "It is music. It is poetry. It is dance. A trap of the play is to let the movement be worn down slow by the Southern heat, but these people really are like a cat on a hot tin roof—screaming, bouncing, constantly jumping in pain. The need for that physicality is something Rob really understands and is brilliant at pulling out of us."

The design team included Christopher Oram (scenic design), Julie Weiss (costume design), Neil Austin (lighting design) and Adam Cork (composer and sound design).

According to producers, "Big Daddy Pollitt, the richest cotton planter in the Mississippi Delta, is about to celebrate his 65th birthday. He is distressed by the rocky relationship between his beloved son Brick, an aging football hero who has turned to drink, and his beautiful and feisty wife Maggie. As the hot summer evening unfolds, the veneer of Southern gentility slips away as unpleasant truths emerge and greed, lies and suppressed sexuality reach a boiling point."

Cat On a Hot Tin Roof was last revived in 2008 with an all-African American cast led by Terrence Howard and Anika Noni Rose. A 2003 revival starred Jason Patric and Ashley Judd. Ben Gazzara and Barbara Bel Geddes originated the central roles of Brick and Maggie, respectively.

It was produced by Stuart Thompson, Jon B. Platt, The Araca Group, Roger Berlind, Scott M. Delman, Roy Furman, Ruth Hendel, Carl Moellenberg, Scott & Brian Zeilinger, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Tulchin/Bartner Productions, Scott Rudin.

 

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Benjamin Walker and Scarlett Johansson
Photo by Joan Marcus