George Bernard Shaw’s “Mrs. Warren’s Profession,” a play in four acts, opened October 3 at the American Airlines Theatre. This latest revival of the 1893-penned comedy-drama is a production of the Roundabout Theatre Company.
Kitty Warren, played by Tony Award winner Cherry Jones, stars as the mother and madam who tries to hide her brothels’ existence (and her role in them) from her daughter Vivie, played by Sally Hawkins. But when the family secret is revealed, the ensuing culture clash pits a college-educated young woman against the mother who made that life possible — albeit through socially unacceptable means.
Directed by Doug Hughes with original music by David Van Tieghem, this is the sixth Broadway staging for Shaw’s play. “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” originally premiered (after a nearly decade-long ban) with an invitation-only showing in London in 1902, before making its one-night Broadway debut in 1905. Great White Way revivals followed in 1907, 1918, 1922 and 1976.
The 740-seat American Airlines Theatre hosted four weeks of previews beginning September 3 with an average capacity of 71 percent. Regular ticket prices range from $67 to $117. Average paid admission over the course of previews was $54.56. Gross ticket sales were $230,352 for the week ending September 26, according to numbers from the Broadway League.
Performances are scheduled Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. with matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. This is a limited engagement, closing November 28. During the week of November 2-12, evening curtains will be at 7 p.m.
The American Airlines Theatre is located at 227 West 42 Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” runs two hours and 15 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission. Scheduling and ticketing details are available on the production’s official Web site.
Opening Night: “Mrs. Warren’s Profession”
|New York Times||Ben Brantley||“The delightful surprise of the generally less-than-delightful ‘Mrs. Warren’s Profession’…is that Cherry Jones, in the title role, does not nearly glow. She glitters.”|
|Wall Street Journal||Terry Teachout||“Rarely have I seen a Shaw play performed with less of an ensemble feel: It’s as if each of the six actors had a different director.”|
|Entertainment Weekly||Tanner Stransky||“… overall, a little nipping and tucking — better blocked scenes, some trims of long-winded passages, warmer sets — would have made this show’s oftentimes arduous work a lot more appealing.”|
|TheaterMania||David Finkle||“In attempting to tackle a Cockney accent, Jones not only gets nowhere near the mark, but she also leaves the audience constantly preoccupied trying to figure out why Mrs. Warren sounds so clownishly wrong.”|
|New York Daily News||Joe Dziemianowicz||“At best, the production…is efficiently attractive. At worst, it’s garbled and incomprehensible.”|
|New York Post||Elizabeth Vincentelli||“…agonizingly static and slow, with a tone that navigates a narrow range between flat and distinctly off. Nobody seems to know how to handle the play’s wicked balance of anger and comedy.”|