My friends are never very excited about new plays. What is The Realistic Joneses and why did celebrities want to be in it? Is Casa Valentina an atmospheric production where they treat us like we're in a resort?
These are serious questions I receive. But, let me tell you something, I'm always excited to see new plays, especially on Broadway, where their appearance is not all that common. This April has four of them: The Realistic Joneses, Act One, The Velocity of Autumn and Casa Valentina. Two have opened to mostly positive reviews, two are still to open. You should go support them, at least one of them. (The Cripple of Inishmaan also opened this month to mostly positive reviews, and many people, people who aren't me, think that should be considered a new play in terms of Tony consideration. I welcome you seeing that as well, though I am not considering it new for these purposes.)
Let me tell you -- it's not easy to get investors to invest in a play on Broadway unless it has Julia Roberts, or the like, in it. I have unfortunately not seen All The Way, which opened in March, but I tip my proverbial hat (not a real one, I'm not Pharrell Williams) to Jeffrey Richards, Louise Gund, Jerry Frankel, Stephanie P. McClelland, Double Gemini Productions, Rebecca Gold, Scott M. Delman, Barbara Freitag, Harvey Weinstein, Gene Korf, William Berlind, Luigi Caiola, Gutterman Chernoff, Jam Theatricals, Gabrielle Palitz, Cheryl Wiesenfeld and Will Trice, Rob Hinderliter & Dominick LaRuffa, Jr., Michael Crea and PJ Miller for presenting a play with so many people in it. Yes, Bryan Cranston comes with a built-in fan base, but it was still risky to produce commercially a straight history play with 20 people onstage.
The thing is, we all need to see new plays. No one wants another revival of Waiting for Godot. Well, maybe five critics do, but most of us are done with it. The less we all support the new shows that are on now, the less producers will want to present new shows in the future. It's an obvious equation. Clearly you don't have to support every single new play just because it's a new play. But if you like plays, try to see one new one for each revival you see. If you can't afford full price tickets, look for a deal or grab rush tickets (if available). If you like what you see, spread the word.
In some ways, Broadway shows without stars or a popular brand name, work the way Lifebooker is supposed to work with regards to salon services. Producers offer deals to fill seats, sure, but they also offer them in the hopes that you will come back or you'll recommend that someone else come. Now, I am not saying you can easily go to a Broadway show for the price of a manicure. Maybe hair highlights, but not a manicure. What I am saying is, if you can possible afford it, take a chance on a new play. Support tomorrow's revivals today.
All of these new plays are currently running on Broadway:
All The Way by Robert Schenkkan, which opened March 6 at the Neil Simon Theatre
Mothers and Sons by Terrence McNally, which opened March 24 at the John Golden Theatre
The Realistic Joneses by Will Eno, which opened April 6 at the Lyceum Theatre
Act One by James Lapine, from the autobiography by Moss Hart, which opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre on April 17
The Velocity of Autumn by Eric Coble, opening April 21 at the Booth Theatre
Casa Valentina by Harvey Fierstein, opening April 23 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (which I always call the Biltmore)