The Broadway revival of Terrence McNally’s off-stage comedy It’s Only A Play has extended its limited run but will test the magic of its central star pairing in January, when Martin Short replaces Nathan Lane opposite Matthew Broderick in the two leading roles. At the same time, the show, which has emerged as one of the biggest hits of the new season, will transfer from the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre next door to the Bernard Jacobs — both Shubert houses, named for the late executives who ran the company for decades. The move will make way for the Helen Mirren starrer The Audience, Peter Morgan’s play about Queen Elizabeth II. The Stephen Daldry-staged show is slated to start previews at the Schoenfeld on February 17 and open March 8.
In the McNally play, staged by Jack O’Brien, Broderick stars as a pretentious but terrified playwright on the night of his Broadway opening, as he and his best friend (Lane and, soon, Short), an actor who has flown in from the West Coast for the event, await the notices in the posh upstairs boudoir of their host, the show’s producer, while the opening night party is going on below. The show also stars Megan Mullally, F. Murray Abraham, Stockard Channing and Rupert Grint. Since beginning previews in August, it has been selling out at one of the highest per-ticket prices on Broadway and regularly breaking the house box-office record at the Schoenfeld.
It was originally slated for a limited run through January 4. It’s now been extended through January 18, with Short taking over on January 7. The show will then shut down for a week and begin performances at the Jacobs, currently through March 29.