Ask Playbill.com answers your (and sometimes our own) theatre-related questions. To ask a question, email AskPlaybill@Playbill.com. Please specify how you would like your name displayed and please include the city in which you live.
Question: A member of the Playbill staff recently noticed that several Broadway shows feature a preview schedule that includes a Monday performance. But when the show opens, the Monday shows disappear and the production converts to a typical Tuesday-to-Sunday schedule. Why is that?
Monday shows have long been the exception, rather than the rule, on Broadway. But they are not unknown. Among the shows currently running on Broadway, Clybourne Park, Death of a Salesman, End of the Rainbow, Jesus Christ Superstar (and the coming Leap of Faith) all feature a Monday performance — but only during previews, the four-week period in which Broadway offerings work out the kinks before presenting their work to the critics for judgment. After opening, Mondays go back to being dark.
Curious as to why this is, we queried a few shows about the practice. Turns out there's not just one answer. "A Monday schedule allows an opportunity for people who work in the theatre industry who normally work Tuesday to Sunday to see the show on a Monday," said Susanne Tighe, a press representative for Jesus Christ Superstar. "Once the show opens we change to a more traditional schedule because that's what general audiences expect."
Joyce Friedmann, a press rep for Clybourne Park, confirmed this right neighborly habit. "Broadway is a tight community. [People] want to have the opportunity to support their fellow artists."
She pointed out another, more practical reason for the Monday previews, however. "It is very common during previews to schedule a Monday through Saturday performance schedule as it maximizes the number of afternoon rehearsals available with the cast prior to opening."
Producer Daryl Roth confirmed this. "One reason that they often play on Monday nights is to keep Wednesday matinee open for rehearsals," she said through a spokesperson. "It can also be to accommodate the schedules of the creative team during the process."
Nothing like killing two birds with one stone.