EXCLUSIVE: Film and stage producer Scott Rudin is nothing if not a gambler — he has no fewer than three major productions in the Broadway season just getting underway. Now one of his riskiest (if not costliest) bets has paid off: The Humans, the Stephen Karam drama Rudin signed before its off-Broadway production had even opened, has recouped its $3.8 million capitalization for lead producers Rudin and Barry Diller after just 26 weeks on Broadway.
That includes the $600,000 price tag for moving the show from the 597-seat Helen Hayes Theatre, where it began its Broadway run last spring, to the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, with about double the capacity, over the summer. The ink changed from red to black over the week ending September 4, Rudin confirmed this morning. This past week, ending September 18, The Humans posted its best week ever, grossing $671K.
The six-character one-act won the Tony Award for Best Play and a nod from the New York Drama Critics Circle, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Staged by Joe Mantello with an outstanding ensemble of six, the intense, if frequently laugh-out-loud funny play about intimate family dramas in post-9/11 New York has thrived on critical support (it led virtually all of last season’s Best Of lists) and audience word-of-mouth — despite the lack of any star names on the marquee.
The announcement last week that a new musical, Come From Away, would begin performances in February at the Schoenfeld, raised the possibility that The Humans would have to move again or close on January 15. Rudin hasn’t announced his plans as the show heads into a crowded fall season in which most Broadway theaters are spoken for. But the producer has been willing to sustain runs off-Broadway, as he did in 2015 with the commercial off-Broadway transfer of The Flick following its run at the nonprofit Playwrights Horizons.
Further clouding the issue for The Humans is last week’s announcement that cast member Sarah Steele will co-star with Christine Baranski and Cush Jumbo in the as-yet-unnamed CBS All Access spinoff from The Good Wife.
Rudin, who surprised Broadway peers with the quick shuttering of the musical Shuffle Along, Or The Making Of The Musical Sensation Of 1921 And All That Followed following its poor showing at the Tony Awards in June, has several star-driven productions in the offing, notably Hello, Dolly! with Bette Midler; The Glass Menagerie, with Sally Field and Mantello; and The Front Page, with John Slattery, Nathan Lane and John Goodman.
The Humans, which had its premiere at the Roundabout Theatre Company, is produced on Broadway by Rudin and Diller with Roundabout Theatre Company, Fox Theatricals, James L. Nederlander, Terry Allen Kramer, Roy Furman, Daryl Roth, Jon B. Platt, Eli Bush, Broadway Across America, Jack Lane, Barbara Whitman, Jay Alix & Una Jackman, Scott M. Delman, Sonia Friedman, Amanda Lipitz, Peter May, Stephanie P. McClelland, Lauren Stein, and The Shubert Organization. Joey Parnes, Sue Wagner, and John Johnson are executive producers.