Bway Revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Will End Its Run Early, Closing March 7
By Kenneth Jones
With the absence of star Ashley Judd, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof screeched its claws to the box office gutter in the last week, and producers decided March 2 that the show — a bonafide hit that had recouped its investment — would close a week earlier than expected, March 7.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof recently lost its leading lady Ashley Judd to a foot injury, prompting a loss of $158,523 in sales the week of Feb. 23-29, according to box office statistics from the League of American Theatre and Producers. The average attendance was 48.4 percent of capacity, down 25 percent from the previous week.
On Feb. 24, Judd understudy Kelly McAndrew was announced to continue in the role of Maggie the Cat to March 14, the announced end date of the limited engagement.
By the time of the Sunday March 7 closing, the Tennessee Williams revival will have played 25 previews and 145 performances. It was the highest-grossing play on Broadway this season, a spokesman said.
Ashley Judd left the production on Feb. 22 in order to undergo foot surgery. She injured her foot during the Feb. 17 evening performance. The mishap caused her to miss several performances during the week ending Feb. 23. McAndrew acted in her stead.
McAndrew has acted Off-Broadway in Book of Days at the Signature Theatre Company. She has appeared at such regional house as George Street Playhouse, Arizona Theatre Company and Arena Stage.
Also heading the cast of Cat are Jason Patric as Maggie's willfully alcoholic, unresponsive husband Brick; and Ned Beatty as the blustery and blunt redneck millionaire Big Daddy.
The production additionally stars Margo Martindale as the cowed, but loving Big Mama; Michael Mastro as Brick's neglected brother, Gooper; and Amy Hohn as Gooper's baby-making, grasping wife Mae.
Previews began Oct. 9, 2003, under the direction of Anthony Page.
The show made headlines during the run when the well reviewed Beatty told The New York Times that he didn't think Patric or Judd had the acting chops to tackle the show.
The comments prompted much debate in the artistic community. Beatty indicated there were many unknown and gifted performers working in regional theatre who deserved a shot at Broadway jobs that were handed to movie actors.
Ironically, the steep dip in ticket sales after the loss of Judd indicates people kept coming to the Music Box to see one important thing: Movie star Judd in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
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