Taylor Mac’s Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus will play its final Broadway performance this Sunday, June 16, becoming the first announced closing in this year’s post-Tony Award shake-out.
Though the production, starring Nathan Lane, Kristine Nielsen and Julie White, received seven Tony nominations (including two for both featured actresses and one for director George C. Wolfe), the divisive play went empty-handed Sunday.
When it closes after Sunday’s performance, Gary will have played 45 preview performances and 65 regular performances. Previews began March 11, with opening night on April 21 at the Booth Theatre. The production had been set to close Aug. 4.
The Scott Rudin-produced Gary divided critics, with some unimpressed with the macabre humor and others – myself included – taken by the smart and risky script and knock-out performances from all three stars.
Even with the seven nominations, Gary couldn’t find a Broadway audience: In the week leading up to the Tonys, the production grossed only $211,093, a small 24% of its $866,704 potential. Attendance that week was about 82% of capacity, with a very modest $42 average ticket price.
In all, the play was Tony-nominated for Best Play, Best Director (George C. Wolfe), Best Featured Actress in a Play (Kristine Nielsen and Julie White), Best Scenic Design of a Play (Santo Loquasto), Best Costume Design of a Play (Ann Roth), and Best Lighting Design of a Play (Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer).
Mac’s vision for the Shakespearean sequel focused on several characters barely mentioned in Titus Andronicus, including the clown-servant and maid (played by Lane and Nielsen) tasked with cleaning up the carnage left over from the slaughter of the Bard’s most violent tale.
The production got off to an unfortunate start even before beginning previews, when Andrea Martin, originally set to co-star with Lane, broke several ribs in a home accident. On doctor’s orders, she left the production and was replaced by Nielsen, who had been cast in the third role, subsequently taken by White, who had to learn the role as the production was just about to begin performances. Read all about that here.