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NEW YORK — Orphans has not been adopted by Broadway.
Despite its starry cast and a Tony Award nomination for best revival of a play, Daniel Sullivan‘s production of the 1983 Lyle Kessler drama will close May 19. The limited engagement originally had been scheduled to run through June 30.
Alec Baldwin, Ben Foster and Tom Sturridge star in the three-character play, about two orphaned brothers living in a run-down North Philadelphia row house, and the wealthy Chicago gangster they kidnap who becomes a surrogate father to them.
Sturridge received a Tony nomination for lead actor in a play for his physically volatile performance as the younger brother Phillip.
The production made news in February when Shia LaBeouf abruptly exited the cast during rehearsals, circulating private emails via Twitter that hinted at friction with his co-star Baldwin and director Sullivan. Foster, who also had been in consideration for the role, stepped in to take LaBeouf’s place, making his Broadway debut.
The play opened April 18, drawing mixed reviews that ranged from raves to pans. Some critics took issue with Sullivan’s staging for pushing the black comedy, rather than the anger and desperation that had characterized the Steppenwolf Theatre Company production that played off-Broadway in 1985.
Box-office data shows a steady decrease in ticket sales. During the week ending May 5, Orphans played to 70 percent capacity at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, grossing slightly less than $400,000.
With attention turning to more unanimously praised Broadway productions as Tony season heats up, the producing team (led by Frederick Zollo and Robert Cole) clearly made the decision to end the run early based on forecasts of further box office declines. Orphans will have played 27 previews and 37 regular performances when it closes.
The production is one of two contenders for top Tony Awards to announce a swift end date, following best new play finalist The Testament of Mary, which shuttered Sunday.
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