'Six Degrees,' 'Sweat' Become Broadway Season's First Post-Tonys Casualties

Joan Marcus
Allison Janney and Corey Hawkins in 'Six Degrees of Separation' (left); Michelle Wilson and Johanna Day in 'Sweat'

Having failed to translate any of their nominations into wins Sunday night, both productions will fold after underperforming at the box office.

The annual Tony Awards ceremony can bring relief to some and resignation to others.

After hanging in until awards night despite flagging ticket sales, both the revival of John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation and the Broadway premiere of Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer-winning Sweat announced imminent closing dates on Tuesday.

Six Degrees, which was scheduled to run through July 16 in a limited engagement, will close a month early this Sunday. Despite generally positive reviews for Trip Cullman's production of the pungent satirical swipe at well-heeled New York liberals, which stars Allison Janney, John Benjamin Hickey and Corey Hawkins, the revival never quite caught on at the box office.

It scored Tony nominations for best revival of a play and for lead actor Hawkins, but failed to win in either category. The production began previews April 5 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre and officially opened April 25. Its cumulative gross to date is just $3.2 million.

Sweat, directed by Kate Whoriskey, opened March 26 at Studio 54 after previewing from March 4, transferring from a successful off-Broadway run earlier in the season at the Public Theater. It landed Tony nominations for best play and for featured actresses Johanna Day and Michelle Wilson, but also went home from Sunday's ceremony empty-handed.

Developed from interviews conducted by Nottage with Pennsylvania steel workers whose livelihoods are being crushed by the decline in American manufacturing, the timely Rust Belt drama has had a tough road finding sizeable audiences on Broadway, despite its critical support. The play has grossed $4.2 million to date and will close June 25.

The spring season can be an unforgiving time on Broadway, with producers debuting their heavy-hitter entries in the run-up to Tony Awards and the big musicals tending to suck up much of the oxygen in terms of media attention. This year was especially daunting for nonmusicals on Broadway, with no sellout smash even among the more commercially robust plays.

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