EXCLUSIVE: The Broadway revival that reunited Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane for Terrence McNally’s off-stage comedy It’s Only A Play was originally slated to run through January 4. But with house records at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre falling nearly every week since the show began performances in August, and an average ticket price of better than $160, the show has been extended at least through the spring.
That’s entailed not only a costly move next door to the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (to accommodate the previously booked Helen Mirren-starrer The Audience) but the breakup of Broadway’s golden couple. With Lane slated to depart shortly after the first of the year for a production of The Iceman Cometh at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music, producers Tom Kirdahy, Roy Furman and Ken Davenport announced that he will be replaced by Martin Short, in a welcome return to the boards.
Now Deadline hears exclusively that Broderick has signed on for the extended run, through March 29, 2015. He plays the somewhat stolid author of a play on the night of his Broadway opening, set in the upstairs bedroom of his producer while the party is going on below. Lane, and then Short, play his caustically witty best friend, an actor who has returned for the night from the Other Coast, where he stars in a schlock TV series after having become famous in the playwright’s first show.
Thus Broderick brings his patented deadpan to the role, a foil for the acerbic, call it bitchy, reposts of the actor playing the actor.
“It’s been my great joy to return to Broadway with Nathan—but now that he’s headed to Brooklyn, I can think of no greater scene partner than my friend and colleague Martin Short,” Broderick, still deadpanning, said in a statement probably written by his publicist (not that there’s anything wrong with that). “To celebrate his arrival at It’s Only A Play, we thought it would be best to move to the theater next door and start the play all over again.”
The Jack O’Brien-staged comedy, which also stars F. Murray Abraham, Megan Mullally, Stockard Channing, Rupert Grint and Micah Stock, will run through January 18th at the Schoenfeld, then resume performances on January 23rd at the Jacobs, both Shubert houses near Shubert Alley on Shubert-dominated West 45th Street.