“Indecent” is not closing on Broadway after all.
In a rare, almost unheard-of move, the play’s producers announced late Thursday that the production — which was set to close on June 25 because of poor ticket sales — would in fact stay open through Aug. 6 at the Cort Theater. The play, which was written by the Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel, won two Tony Awards and was nominated for three.
The producer Daryl Roth said in an interview that the decision was based on an outpouring of support for the show in the week since she posted the closing notice. She added that ticket sales have gone “way up,” to the point where some nights have had standing-room crowds.
In the week ending June 18, following the play’s Tony wins for best direction and lighting design, “Indecent” logged $377,789 in box office sales — up from $277,395 a week earlier but still at only 41 percent of the theater’s potential gross. The production had a commercially and critically successful run last year at the Vineyard Theater Off Broadway, but has struggled to fill the Cort Theater, which at roughly 1,000 seats is large even for a Broadway house.
Ms. Roth didn’t have an exact figure for this week so far, but said ticket sales are on track to “double” recent grosses. On Wednesday night, the house was nearly full, and audience members gave the cast a long standing ovation. Rebecca Taichman, the Tony-winning director, was in the house that night for what she thought was her last time before leaving for Vermont on Thursday.
“Indecent” tells the story of the Yiddish play “God of Vengeance,” an early 20th-century work by Sholem Asch that featured the first kiss between two women on Broadway and was promptly shut down, its cast and crew charged with obscenity. This was Ms. Vogel’s debut on Broadway at age 65 (after seasons in the New York theater world ) and a passion project developed with Ms. Taichman.
But neither Ms. Vogel’s prestige nor the production’s Tony wins could bring enough audience members to justify a long run on Broadway. Ms. Roth said she was unhappy with the play’s closing, and had lost sleep over it. “I just felt it hadn’t lived the life it needed to live,” she added.
As ticket sales increased after the closure was announced on June 14, Ms. Roth said, she began to toy with the idea of keeping “Indecent” open. In the past, shows have closed and reopened after a hiatus, often in smaller theaters. But the Cort was available, as were the actors — so the stars aligned to stay put, Ms. Roth said.
She added, “I just hope we can find the audience we need.”
Continue reading the main story