Driven by a couple of A-list stars, the Great White Way’s revival of “A Life in the Theatre” opened at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on October 12. Booked as a limited engagement, the early David Mamet comedy enters the Main Stem for the first time after several off-Broadway runs.
The vignette-style play stars Patrick Stewart as the veteran repertory actor Robert, opposite T.R. Knight as the starry-eyed protégé John. Over the course of a season of shows at their regional playhouse, the actors’ relationship evolves from that of a vain teacher and his eager student to one of guarded rivalry for the limelight.
Director Neil Pepe helms this revival, which features set design by Santo Loquasto, costume design by Laura Bauer, and lighting design by Kenneth Posner. Prior to its arrival on Broadway this season, the Mamet-penned production premiered in 1977 at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and saw several off-Broadway revivals in subsequent years.
The 15-week engagement began previews on September 21 and has a scheduled January 2 closing date. During “A Life in the Theatre’s” three full weeks of previews, audiences increased from an initial 68 percent up to 77 percent capacity in the 1,071-seat playhouse.
Regular tickets range in price from $76.50 up to $121.50, though Telecharge also offers premium seats at $201.50 and $251.50 for select show times. Weekly grosses have consistently remained in the ballpark of $300,000, with total grosses presently falling just short of the $1 million mark at $985,260, according to numbers from the Broadway League.
“A Life in the Theatre” runs 90 minutes without intermission. The production is staged Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. Matinee performances are set each Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m.
The Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre is located on 236 West 45th Street in New York, NY. “A Life in the Theatre” runs 90 minutes without intermission; more details are available on the production’s official Web site.
Opening Night: “A Life in the Theatre”
|New York Times||Ben Brantley||“…an ill-advised revival…”|
|Wall Street Journal||Terry Teachout||“I wish that Mr. Stewart had a stronger partner opposite him, but his performance is rich enough to carry the play all by itself.”|
|USA Today||Elysa Gardner||“If Stewart and Knight deftly manage the broad comedy required here, their overall performances are appropriately nuanced.”|
|TheaterMania||Dan Bacalzo||“There’s not much of substance in David Mamet’s backstage comedy… However, stars Patrick Stewart and T.R. Knight deliver brilliant comic performances in Neil Pepe’s amusingly breezy production.”|
|New York Daily News||Joe Dziemianowicz||“Both stars do nice work, which isn’t the same as setting off bright, colorful sparks.”|
|Chicago Tribune||Chris Jones||“…a fluid and frequently amusing production but one either unable or unwilling to really expose the raw marrow of the play…”|