If there were any doubts Yasmina Reza's play, Art, would be as big a hit on Broadway as it's been in London, box office figures are putting them to rest.
With a gross of $408,653 for the week ending Mar. 22, Art set a box office record for the Royale Theatre, whose last winner, An Inspector Calls, took in $402,142 back in January 1995.
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 Mar. 1 at the Royale Theatre.
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 three times, for Deathtrap, Little Me 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.
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.