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 on 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 the first week of rehearsals, circulating private emails via Twitter that hinted at friction with his co-star Baldwin and director Sullivan. Foster, who had also been in consideration for the role, stepped in to take LaBeouf's place, making his Broadway debut.
The play opened on 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.
While box office data for last week is not yet available, Orphans played to 70 percent capacity at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre the previous week, grossing under $500,000.
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 declining box office. 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 on Sunday.
If they had dropped Alec and kept Shia it'd be still running.
How embarrassing. To think that Baldwin can't pack in the fans on star power alone.
Don't feel bad for that racist.
I don't like Baldwin.
Which is unfortunate as he is everywhere.
Saw it yesterday. Not a good production. Alec looked as if he truly didn't care. Probably got the news already.
Alec is probably hungry every day on stage.
[quote]If they had dropped Alec and kept Shia it'd be still running
I hope that is not true. Shia is easily one of the most repellent celebrities under the age of thirty and he was fired for displaying a complete lack of the fundamental discipline required of stage performers.
A friend had seen the play recently; he said that Alec Baldwin at first was quite good but then seemed to slide into being disinterested or distracted thru a lot of the play, tho there times were he would seem to snap out of it and seemed to be making an effort. I'd hoped this would be good and expected better from Alec Baldwin, but at least they're pulling the plug early instead of trying to limp thru while they try to improve it.
I don't know anything about theatre money numbers, how much money would be considered a good week if half a million is considered bad?
It depends what their nut is, r10. I can't believe people continue to neglect the NUT.
Alec Baldwin really does not care for New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley. Like, at all. On HuffPo, Baldwin writes about "how Broadway has changed," but that's mostly a framing device so he can rip into Brantley, who, yes, wrote an unfavorable review of Orphans, which Baldwin stars in. (It's closing early because of crummy ticket sales.) Baldwin writes,
Ben Brantley, who I must state up front is no fan of mine (every John Simon must have his Amanda Plummer, I suppose), is not a good writer. Whereas [former Times critic and current New York Magazine writer-at-large Frank] Rich's keen sense of what worked or did not work on stage helped to elevate the position of his desk, Brantley is viewed as some odd, shriveled, bitter Dickensian clerk who has sought to assemble a compendium of essays on theatre, the gist of which often have no relationship to the events onstage themselves. Brantley carries the Times into the performance and little else. Beyond the obvious impact that a weak or scathing review in the Times has on sales, particularly with booking agents for tourists, no one I know of in the theatre reads Brantley except in the way that a doctor reads an x-ray to determine if you have cancer. Brantley doesn't offer criticism, per se, as much as he seeks to signal to some that they are actually unwelcome on Broadway. If you aren't Brantley's type, why bother? And it is this very "Why Bother" approach of Brantley's that I think is the most troubling.
I read the print version of the Times every day and will continue to do so, I assume, regardless of (or in Brantley's case, in spite of) who covers the theatre. But the "Why Bother" theme seems wrong for the Times. And with the more insightful Isherwood sitting there, writing circles around Brantley, I think it's time for the Times to get rid of Brantley. I don't know anyone, anyone at all, who will miss him or his writing.
Baldwin writes that a critic should "never say 'why bother?'" about something he or she is reviewing, and that "[in] the case of Orphans, Brantley wrote 'Why bother?'" Actually, Brantley didn't — though he did call Baldwin's performance "a mutating cartoon … with only hints of the requisite menace" and said the production was "dispiritingly pallid."
OP - you do realise that you don't actually name the show until the 6th paragraph...
I saw the three actors on Charlie Rose and the two young guys seemed like illiterate slacker doofuses, all caught up in their heads with no real understanding of their characters or acting, in general. All talk about "process" and a bunch of faux intellectual sounding mumbo jumbo. They also seemed dirty, as in physically dirty.
Alec has been at it a long time and has seasoned into a damned good actor. I bet his working with these guys (who have little life experience and cannot bring much to the stage in terms of true intensity) has not been a pleasurable experience for him. Just a hunch.
Complain to The Hollywood Reporter, R13.
R14, Alec Baldwin has had nothing but praise for his younger co-stars, the one for his well-deserved Tony nom, the other for heroically jumping in at the last minute and saving the show from closing.
And yet, r14, they were good in the production. Baldwin was not.
He will never be president.
Baldwin is a professional and a gentleman (PROFESSIONALLY, I mean. I am well aware of his other "problems") and won't say (at least THESE days) anything derogatory about a co-star. I just bet that, although the other actors might have been okay in the roles, that Alec was not challenged or did not have a passion for the part, for whatever reason. Wasn't he tied up in a chair for much of the show?
You could tell Alec Baldwin had no patience with his pretentious co-stars.
Tom Sturridge sounds like a twat.
Did the breaking point come, Alec, when Shia dressed you down for not memorizing your lines as quickly as he had?
Tom Sturridge: Can I say something? I think what is so beautiful about the rehearsal process is that it’s a safe place for an actor. It’s a place where you can take risks, screw up, explore, and it’s safe because it’s private. I think it’s not fair to make public or investigate what happened in the rehearsal room because that sets a precedent for people to talk about what goes on in rehearsal rooms.
Baldwin: I respect what you’re saying, but someone in the rehearsal room did go public with that information.
Sturridge Completely, completely, but that person isn’t here.
So, Alec, when Shia went after you about not knowing your lines, what went through your head?
Baldwin Right ——
Sturridge: But that’s what I’m talking about. I feel like rehearsal was a safe place. We’ve had arguments in the rehearsal process. I feel like you trying to ask questions on that means you can go into any rehearsal room and ask questions — like on “Golden Boy,” did you guys have a fight about the shoe color?
Baldwin: My greatest regret is that the rehearsal process got exposed by the person himself.
Tom, how did you feel about Shia tweeting your private e-mail?
Baldwin: [adopting a theatrical British accent] His feelings about it are private.
Sturridge: I have no particularly strong feelings either way. What I do have strong feelings about is: The e-mail shouldn’t have been read. Have you read them?
Yes. I was reporting on Shia’s firing, and he suddenly released these e-mails.
Sturridge: It’s not your job to read them. I think that’s extraordinarily ethically questionable. It was a private e-mail, and you read it.
Baldwin: I just want to say: The worst cases you never hear about. Hollywood studios bury that stuff — actors who punch directors in the face and try to run producers over with cars — insanity, criminal behavior. But the studios are invested in that star, they can’t have that person’s name dirtied up. The problem here is it became public.
Baldwin is on his best behavior in interviews. You just know he's a tinymeat prick. If he talks like this to his family- imagine how he treats strangers?
Blame Tina Fey for resurrecting this faded '80's icon (she's also responsible for Tracey Morgan).
[quote]Sturridge: It’s not your job to read them. I think that’s extraordinarily ethically questionable. It was a private e-mail, and you read it.
Boy Sturridge is an ass. It's the reporter's fault for reading them?
Alec has nothing to do with it. No one is going to plays anymore. Every straight play is produced as limited engagements now. The days of a play running for two or three years are over.
Sturridge comes across a complete twat.
And Baldwin crybaby routine over the NYT comes across as insufferably smug and thin-skinned.
Both men are pompous dicks.
Proof, Doubt and The Tale of the Allergist's Wife each ran for well over a year. Were those the last three American plays to accomplish that kind of run on Broadway?
Of course, they all came pre-sold from their Manhattan Theater Club runs.
Tom Sturridge? Name sounds familiar- maybe my boyfriend knows him from somewhere.
Where does Ben Foster stand in all of this mess?
Does Sturridge understand how Twitter works?
Alec was the best thing about Orphans. I am not a fan, but I saw the show and I thanked God every second I sat there that Alec was in it to make it bearable
r30, I suspected as much.
War Horse and August Osage County had long runs.
The downfall of plays not running for a long time started when Hollywood actors wanted to do Broadway because they thought it was prestigious and that they would be taken seriously as actors so they agreed to sign for
a limited engagement and the producers charged outrageous prices for tickets to make
their money back. Sometimes it works
(Lucky Guy-not that Tom Hanks needs to be taken seriously as an actor),most of the time it doesn't.Add to that bad writing and directing and you have the perfect storm for flops.
Think Rob Ashford and ScarJo,
GOOD. I hate that bully putz with a white hot passion!
But Baldwin's play didn't even finish it's limmeted run r24....while others do
[quote] faded '80's icon
I only really peaked in the 90s...you dear Kim were the 80s icon (you are much older remember)
How is the agoraphobia going? Don't see you out and about much these days.
Alec's tirade on Huffington Post fails to mention that ticket prices are ridiculously high, insuring that unless a play gets a RAVE in the times it can't survive.
It's always rich when anonymous people here do the same exact thing you accuse celebrities of doing. But you are good guys, right?
What are you talking about, R38?
During previews, audiences were laughing in all the wrong places.
I thought he looked like a fat pig
Alec Baldwin is psychotic to blame this failure on either Broadway audiences or producers or critics. The critics were, if anything, too kind toward an awful production of a risible play. The writing is treacly, precious, and all-around cringe-worthy. By the end, I was literally embarrassed to be in the audience.
ORPHANS must be a cursed property. The brilliantly-acted film version grossed $250,000 in its original US release. It is one of the greatest film flops of all time having earned virtually nothing.
[quote]an awful production of a risible play.
You're right, shame on them for trying something besides the annual "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" and "A Street Car Named Desire" revivals.
Tom Sturridge may be pretentious but he's been getting the best reviews of all of them. Shia would never have been let go if he was selling tickets. Alec has a much higher Q rating than he does.
We're in the fifth year of a global depression. "Orphans" is not what's wanted on Broadway right now.
r45 where are you getting the info that Shia's Q rating is lower than Baldwin's? Just out of curiosity. Is there a link?
I don't think the play would have done better or worse with Shia.
Saw Baldwin bawling on the stand yesterday. Now THERE'S acting.