Cate Blanchett’s Star Power Lifts ‘The Present’ on Broadway - The New York Times

Michael Paulson

New York Times

18th January 2017

Cate Blanchett is proving to be a strong draw on Broadway. “The Present,” a new adaptation of a Chekhov play starring Ms. Blanchett in her Broadway debut, last week grossed just over $1 million, a sign of strength for any Broadway show, but especially for a nonmusical play.

One illustrative comparison: A revival this season of “The Cherry Orchard,” also by Chekhov, topped out at $384, 000 during its best, and final, week of performances. “The Present,” which opened on Jan. 8, received mixed reviews, but has been selling well since beginning previews on Dec.

17. Last week, a week for Broadway over all, was the strongest yet for “The Present,” which had a healthy average admission price of $129 and played to 95 percent full houses, according to figures released Wednesday by the Broadway League for the week ending Jan. 15.

The adaptation, written by Ms. Blanchett’s husband, Andrew Upton, is a modern take on Chekhov’s first play, which is most often produced under the title “Platonov. ” Ms.

Blanchett, a Oscar winner, plays a Russian widow who is turning 40 and worried about how to hang on to her home. The play’s action centers on a wild birthday party at which the character’s friends and family have gathered. The overall Broadway season, which began in May and runs through this May, continues to look strong — grosses are up 0.

4 percent over the previous, season. But attendance is now down 1. 1 percent, a potentially worrisome indicator, although there are several shows scheduled to open later this season.

Among the signs of health: Two of this season’s plays announced that they had recouped their capitalization costs, meaning, in industry parlance, that they are hits, and can generate profits until they close this month. A revival of “The Front Page,” with a cast led by Nathan Lane, has recouped its $4. 875 million capitalization, according to the producer Scott Rudin that production is scheduled to close Jan.

29. And “Oh, Hello on Broadway,” starring the comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, has recouped its $2. 9 million capitalization, according to the producers Patrick Catullo and Marcia Goldberg it is scheduled to close on Sunday.

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