Art Breaks Box Office Record at NY's Royale

News   Art Breaks Box Office Record at NY's Royale
Art, enjoying the current resurgence in popularity of the Broadway play, has broken the weekly box office record at the Royale Theatre for the second time.

Art, enjoying the current resurgence in popularity of the Broadway play, has broken the weekly box office record at the Royale Theatre for the second time.

With a gross of $429,038 for the week ending May. 17, Art once more nabbed a box office record for the Royale Theatre, topping its own Apr. 19 figure of $414,815. Before the weekly string of successes for Art, the Royale's last champ was An Inspector Calls, which took in $402,142 back in January 1995.

The production may be reaping the rewards of recent kudos. The week prior, Art had been named best play by the New York Critics' Circle, as well as being nominated for 3 Tony awards, including best play. During May, both Art and The Beauty Queen of Leenane have experienced attendance rates of more than 90 percent.

Art began Broadway previews Feb. 12 with Victor Garber, Alan Alda and Alfred Molina starring as the three men whose friendship is thrown into turmoil over, of all things, a painting. Winner of London's Olivier and London Evening Standard Awards for Best Comedy, the show opened at the Royale Mar. 1.

The play's debate about a piece of modern art turns into an exploration of the nature of friendship, male friendship in particular. Garber plays Serge, the art lover who purchases a canvas that is, for all practical purposes, completely white. His longtime friend, Marc (Alda), is infuriated by what he sees as the stupidity of such a move. His anger causes him to question the entire basis of their friendship. Molina plays Yvan, their mutual friend, who tries to mediate, but finds himself caught in the crossfire. Garber has done straight plays, musicals, TV and films, but is perhaps best known for originating the roles of Antony in Sweeney Todd and John Wilkes Booth in Assassins. He was Tony-nominated four times, for Deathtrap, Little Me, Lend Me A Tenor and the Damn Yankees revival. He played Jesus in the film of Godspell. He's currently prominent in the film Titanic, playing the ship's designer, Thomas Andrews.

The son of Robert Alda, the original Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, Alan Alda got his start in theatre, earning a Tony nomination for The Apple Tree. He earned international fame appearing as Hawkeye Pierce in the long-running TV comedy "M*A*S*H."

Molina came to fame playing the lover (and killer) of playwright Joe Orton in the Orton film biograpy Prick Up Your Ears.

For tickets: (212) 239-6200. Outside metro NY area: (800) 432-7250. You can also order tickets on Playbill On-Line.

Christopher Hampton's English translation of Reza's hit French play opened Oct. 15 at Wyndham's Theatre in London. Matthew Warchus directed and will again on Broadway. Though the London mounting first starred Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay, that production has continued its smash status through numerous cast replacements.

David Pugh and actor Sean Connery are co-producers of the London production. The Broadway production will be directed by Matthew Warchus, designed by Mark Thompson, and produced by Pugh and Connery with Joan Cullman.

The play had its North American premiere Sept. 12, 1997 in Mexico City.

-- By David Lefkowitz
and Robert Simonson

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