'It's Only a Play' Recoups on Broadway

Joan Marcus
Megan Mullally and Nathan Lane in "It's Only a Play"

The all-star smash comedy revival headlined by Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane becomes the first production of the 2014-15 season to turn a profit

In a season in which non-musicals are outstripping song-and-dance freshmen on Broadway, It's Only a Play has become the first production of the fall to recover its investment.

Lead producers Tom Kirdahy, Roy Furman and Ken Davenport on Wednesday announced that the Terrence McNally comedy has recouped its $3.9 million capitalization, putting it firmly in the black.

The hit production's starry ensemble includes Matthew BroderickNathan LaneStockard ChanningMegan MullallyRupert GrintF. Murray Abraham and newcomer Micah Stock. The bitchy theater-biz farce unfolds during the opening-night party of a new Broadway play, as the producer, cast and creative team sweat out the agonizing wait for reviews of what begins to smell like a resounding flop.

Read more 'It's Only a Play': Theater Review

Directed by Jack O'Brien, the production began previews at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Aug. 28 and officially opened on Oct. 9. It has so far broken house records three times, registering its highest gross to date ($1,424,039) for the week ending on Dec. 7. Cumulative box office through Dec. 14 stands at $20.5 million.

Due to a prior commitment, Lane will depart the cast on its originally scheduled closing date of Jan. 4, along with Mullally and Grint. 

As previously announced, Martin Short will step into Lane's role as the playwright's backstabbing best friend, a former stage actor-turned-network TV star, for the production's extension through March 29.

Read more Martin Short to Step Into 'It's Only a Play' on Broadway

Also joining the cast are two-time Tony-winner Katie Finneran, replacing Mullally in the producer role; and former 30 Rock regular Maulik Pancholy, making his Broadway debut as a flamboyant British wunderkind director, the part played by Grint. The play will also relocate next door to the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre to make way for the previously booked The Audience, starring Helen Mirren.

While new musical productions, including Side Show, The Last Ship and On the Town have underperformed at the box office this fall, the McNally comedy is one of a handful of plays doing strong business. 

That crop includes The River with Hugh Jackman, The Elephant Man with Bradley Cooper, A Delicate Balance with Glenn Close and John Lithgow, and the lauded London import, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

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