Actor Richard Topol stepped forward last night on the stage of Broadway’s Cort Theatre at the end of Indecent to share some news with the audience. A few hours earlier, producer Daryl Roth said that plans to close the show June 25 had been rescinded. The run has been extended through August 6. “Tell everyone you know,” Topol implored the customers. And someone shouted back, “Let’s hear it for women producers!”
Even with the boasting rights two Tony Awards confer (for director Rebecca Taichman and lighting designer Christopher Akerlind), a fistful of exclamation-pointable reviews and equally enthusiastic word-of-mouth, Paula Vogel’s play-with-music has had a tough go at the 1,000-seat house. There are no star names posted on the marquee, and the story Indecent tells begins at the turn of the last century and encompasses pogroms, world wars, Nazism, anti-communist witch hunts and, maybe most shocking of all, a rain-drenched lesbian smooch.
The June 11 Tony Awards prompted a modest box-office bump, but ticket sales still came to barely 40 percent of the show’s potential gross. So last week, Roth and her co-producers posted the June 25 closing notice. That seems to have sparked a bigger response.
“I couldn’t sleep,” Roth told me in a telephone interview today. “I was totally tortured. But from the moment we posted, people were calling and coming and lining up. I knew there was an audience for this play. I felt it had more life.” Independently, several people have contacted me about the lines springing up on West 48th Street to buy tickets. Roth says that on many recent nights, the Cort has been SRO.
The company is under contract through August 6, but once the closing notice went up, they were free to pursue work elsewhere. After confirming that everyone was game to keep going, Roth approached her producing team and the theater owner, the Shubert Organization. Everyone was on board, even though the run is unlikely to return is capitalization costs no matter how full the houses. (That should change with income from touring, and licensed productions will follow.)
“I went to tell everyone, and I’ve never felt such relief,” Roth said (and really, you needn’t worry too much on her behalf; her other passion project, Kinky Boots, should be paying the bills for the foreseeable future). “I knew I’d made the right decision,” she said. Deadline agrees, no secret there.