With directors Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris at the helm, “War Horse” opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theater last night, April 14. The drama, originally booked as a limited engagement, has been upgraded to an open-ended run due to the strong praise heaped upon it by critics and box office patrons alike.

Based on the children’s novel of the same name, “War Horse” chronicles the close bond of English farm boy Albert Narracott (Seth Numrich) and his beloved horse Joey during World War I. When Joey is sold to the British cavalry and lost behind enemy lines, Albert enlists in the infantry and sets out for the battlefields of France in search of his beloved horse.

Joey and the production’s other war horses, all creations of the Handspring Puppet Company, are manipulated onstage by three puppeteers apiece. The cast’s human counterparts include Boris McGiver (as Albert’s father, Ted) and Peter Hermann (as a German officer).

Produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain and presented by Lincoln Center Theater, “War Horse” arrives on Broadway after achieving success on the London stage. Nick Stafford penned this theatrical adaptation, based on Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 novel. (Steven Spielberg is also directing a film adaptation of the source material, set for a December release.)

TFL and ATBS for ticketing professionals

“War Horse” entered previews March 15 at the 1,068-seat playhouse, where audiences have been at 100 percent capacity every week. Regular ticket prices are set at $75 and $125 for all performances (up from $75 and $115 during previews). Over the past four weeks, “War Horse” has grossed more than $2.6 million, according to the Broadway League.

The drama has a running time of two hours and 40 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission. Evening performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m., and Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. Matinees are offered at 2 p.m. on Wednesday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

The Vivian Beaumont Theatre is located at 150 West 65th Street in New York, NY. More scheduling and ticketing details are available on the production’s official Web site.

Opening Night: “War Horse”

Publication Critic Review
Variety Marilyn Stasio “Since this story was written for children, the plot is plain and the emotions are primal — the better to rip your heart out.”
New York Times Ben Brantley “Beneath its exquisite visual surface, it keeps pushing buttons like a sales clerk in a notions shop.”
TheaterMania David Finkle “This harshly beautiful spectacle…offers some of the most astonishing puppetry ever put on a stage.”
Hollywood Reporter David Rooney “…emotionally stirring, visually arresting and compellingly told…”
The Wall Street Journal Terry Teachout “[The puppets] are manipulated with such uncanny sensitivity that words like ‘realism’ and ‘naturalism’ quickly fade into irrelevance.”
TIME Richard Zoglin “…a landmark theater event…”