Broadway welcomed “Next Fall,” a play by Geoffrey Nauffts, on its March 11 opening night at the Helen Hayes Theatre. Sheryl Kaller resumes her...

Broadway welcomed “Next Fall,” a play by Geoffrey Nauffts, on its March 11 opening night at the Helen Hayes Theatre. Sheryl Kaller resumes her role as director of the split drama-comedy, which earned rave reviews during an Off Broadway run in 2009.

Switching between flash-backs and present-day scenes, the play tracks the five-year relationship of 45-year-old atheist Adam (Patrick Breen) and his 30-year-old boyfriend Luke (Patrick Heusinger), a conservative Christian. As the play opens, Luke is in a coma as a result of an accident, and Adam is left in the waiting room with Luke’s equally conservative parents, Arlene (Connie Ray) and Butch (Cotter Smith), who are in-the-dark about their son’s sexuality.

The cast and creative team for “Next Fall” is largely preserved from its critically acclaimed run Off Broadway last year. However, since that time the play has gained a couple A-list supporters. Notably, the play has among its producers Elton John and his partner David Furnish.

The play’s 22 previews attracted 9,256 theatergoers, with average capacity ranging from 60 percent to 80 percent in this 597-seat theater. Average paid admission over the course of previews was $34.25. Gross ticket sales of $110,010 were reported for the week ending before the opening, according to numbers from the Broadway League.

The schedule for the remainder of this week includes performances on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. with a matinee on Saturday at 3 p.m. Beginning March 15, the production runs Tuesday at 7 p.m., and Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinee performances Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. The theater is dark on Monday.

The production’s nightly running time is about two hours, not including a 15-minute intermission. The play will conclude its Broadway stint on June 27, 2010.

The theater is located at 240 W. 44th Street in New York, NY. Scheduling and ticketing details are available on the production’s official Web site.

Opening Night: “Next Fall”

Publication Critic Review
Variety David Rooney “The play had a quieter appeal in its hit Off Broadway run last summer; the slicked-up transfer pushes harder, particularly for laughs. But it remains a moving domestic drama.”
New York Times Ben Brantley “‘Next Fall’… is that genuine rara avis, a smart, sensitive and utterly contemporary New York comedy.”
USA Today Elysa Gardner “‘Fall’ touches on daunting questions about faith, love and mortality. Unfortunately, those touches never blossom into meaningful or convincing explorations.”
Hollywood Reporter Frank Scheck “Under the skillful direction of Sheryl Kaller, the play crackles with emotional force and acerbic humor.”
TheaterMania Patrick Lee “…despite some emotionally potent moments and occasional flashes of thematic interest, the play is frustratingly superficial from yuk-filled start to tearjerker finish.”
New York Daily News Joe Dziemianowicz “Can a serious drama be seriously funny? In the case of this gay love story, it can… It can be seriously didactic, too.”