At This Theatre: Broadhurst Theatre
George H. Broadhurst, the Anglo-American dramatist (1866-1952), came to America in 1886. In addition to writing popular plays, he managed theatres in Milwaukee, Baltimore, and San Francisco before he opened his own self-named New York theatre in association with the Shubert brothers.
Located at 235 West Forty-fourth Street, right next door to the Shubert Theatre, the Broadhurst was designed by architect Herbert J. Krapp, one of the major theatre designers of that era. With a seating capacity of 1,155 (later augmented to 1,186) and a wide auditorium that offered unobstructed views of the stage, the theatre was constructed to house both musicals and straight fare, which it has done successfully for more than 90 years.
The Broadhurst’s opening show was George Bernard Shaw’s Misalliance on September 27, 1917, starring Maclyn Arbuckle. This was the first New York production of Shaw’s philosophical 1910 comedy, and it ran for only 52 performances. It was not performed again on Broadway until a City Center revival in 1953.
In 1918 the Broadhurst had a hit musical in Ladies First, starring Nora Bayes and comic William Kent. This suffragette show (the Nineteenth Amendment wouldn’t recognize women’s right to vote until 1920) centered on a woman (Bayes) who dares to run for mayor against her boyfriend. She loses the election but wins the boy. The show had a score by A. Baldwin Sloane. During the run at the Broadhurst, one George Gershwin song, “Some Wonderful Sort of Someone,” was interpolated.
The Broadhurst had two hits in 1919. Rachel Crothers’s 39 East was a comedy of manners that starred Alison Skipworth, Henry Hull, and Constance Binney. Later in the run Hull was replaced by Sidney Blackmer and Binney by a striking young actress named Tallulah Bankhead. On December 30 Jane Cowl scored one of her early successes in a romantic drama called Smilin’ Through, which she coauthored with Allan Langdon Martin. Cowl played a ghost in some scenes and the ghost’s niece in others, serving to confuse critic Alexander Woollcott, who complained that these quick-change tricks belonged more to vaudeville than to the legitimate theatre. But audiences loved Smilin’ Through for 175 performances.
In September 1921 George Broadhurst brought his American version of the British play Tarzan of the Apes to his theatre. The New York Times’ critic labeled the show “rather astonishing.” A British actor, Ronald Adair, played Tarzan, and there were real lions and monkeys onstage, but the Ape Man managed to swing from tree to tree for only 13 performances.
In November 1921 Lionel Barrymore won plaudits for his acting in a French play called The Claw, in which he played a politician who is ruined by a conniving woman. Critic Alexander Woollcott reported in The New York Times that the play was attended by “the most bronchial audience of the season that coughed competitively through each scene and applauded with vehemence at its conclusion.”
One of the most popular themes of this era — that of two generations of lovers from the same family — cropped up again in the musical Marjolaine, starring Peggy Wood. It ran for 136 performances in 1922. In 1923 The Dancers, the London play by Sir Gerald Du Maurier in which Tallulah Bankhead had made her dazzling British debut, came to the Broadhurst with Richard Bennett and Florence Eldridge. It was a hit. Later in the year a revue called Topics of 1923, with Alice Delysia, frolicked for 143 performances.
On February 12, 1924 (the same day that George Gershwin’s famous "Rhapsody in Blue" had its Manhattan premiere), the Broadhurst celebrated Lincoln’s birthday with a distinguished hit, Beggar on Horseback, by George S. Kaufman and Marc Connelly. This expressionistic play focused on a composer (Roland Young) who almost marries into a stuffy rich family but is saved from this fate by an extended surrealistic dream about how life would be with them. It caused a sensation, ran for 224 performances, and is still regarded as a classic of its genre.
Another sensation was caused by Katharine Cornell in The Green Hat (1925), by Michael Arlen. Based on Arlen’s shocking novel of the same name, the play was considered extremely daring. It dealt with a bride (Cornell) whose husband commits suicide on their honeymoon. The audience learns later that the husband threw himself out of a hotel window because he had a venereal disease. The excellent cast included Leslie Howard, Margalo Gillmore, Eugene Powers, and Paul Guilfoyle. The play was staged by Cornell’s husband, Guthrie McClintic.
One of the Broadhurst’s greatest entertainments opened on September 16, 1926. Jed Harris, the boy wonder, brought his production of Broadway to the Broadhurst, and it hit Times Square like a thunderbolt. Written by Philip Dunning and George Abbott, it mesmerized first-nighters and subsequent audiences with its kaleidoscopic view of life in a New York nightspot called the Paradise Club. A jazz band, dancing girls, a fast-talking hoofer perfectly played by Lee Tracy, gangsters, bootleggers, murderers, and nightclub habitués thronged the Broadhurst stage and electrified theatregoers for 603 performances. Winston Churchill once declared that this was his favorite show of all time.
Winthrop Ames brought his production of The Merchant of Venice to the theatre in 1928. With George Arliss as Shylock and Peggy Wood as Portia, it managed to run for a respectable 72 performances.
On October 10, 1928, Bert Lahr achieved immortality in a raucous musical, Hold Everything, by DeSylva, Brown, and Henderson. Lahr played a punch-drunk boxer named Gink Schiner who was given to making strange sounds like “gnong, gnong, gnong”; these utterances later became his trademark. The cast also included the beloved Victor Moore, Jack Whiting, Ona Munson, and Betty Compton, but it was Lahr who got the raves and who kept the musical running for 413 performances. The hit song was “You’re the Cream in My Coffee.”
The Broadhurst had another winner in 1929, June Moon. A satire on Tin Pan Alley’s songwriters, the play was written by George S. Kaufman and Ring Lardner, and it kept the Broadhurst shaking with laughter for 272 performances. Norman Foster played a lyricist who writes an imbecilic hit tune, “June Moon.” The tart Jean Dixon, Philip Loeb, and Linda Watkins gave comic support to this tuneful cartoon.
Rodgers and Hart came back from Hollywood in 1931 with a new musical, America’s Sweetheart, that naturally spoofed the movie capital. The two young hopefuls who go to Hollywood were played by beautiful Harriette Lake (who subsequently went to Hollywood for real and became Ann Sothern) and Jack Whiting. There was one hit song, the infectious Depression lament “I’ve Got Five Dollars,” and acerbic performances by Jeanne Aubert and Inez Courtney, but the book by Herbert Fields was proclaimed dull and dirty, and the show ran for only 135 performances.
Norman Bel Geddes, set designer extraordinaire, tackled Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Broadhurst in 1931. He adapted the play; designed its sets, costumes, and lighting; and directed it. Raymond Massey was the Melancholy Dane, Mary Servoss was Gertrude, Celia Johnson was Ophelia, and Colin Keith-Johnston was Laertes. Wrote Brooks Atkinson in The New York Times, “Mr. Bel Geddes has hacked and transposed until no idle philosophy is left to trip up his scenery. What he has left is, to this department, an incoherent, flat and unprofitable narrative.” The production expired after 28 performances.
Philip Barry restored art to the Broadhurst with his finely written high comedy The Animal Kingdom in 1932. Leslie Howard gave one of his most ingratiating performances as a man who marries the wrong woman. The blue-chip cast included Frances Fuller, Ilka Chase, and William Gargan. It was Barry at his best.
Claude Rains and the fetching Jean Arthur could not save a drama called The Man Who Reclaimed His Head in 1932. Also in the cast, as a maid, was Lucille Lortel, who later became a patroness of the Off-Broadway movement and renamed the Theatre de Lys in Greenwich Village after herself.
The Broadway team of George Abbott and Philip Dunning produced another hit in 1932, but not of their authorship. They presented Hecht and MacArthur’s rambunctious farce Twentieth Century, which took place onboard the Twentieth-Century Limited luxury train en route from Chicago to New York. Moffat Johnston played an egomaniacal Broadway producer (said to be inspired by Jed Harris) trying to get a famous actress (Eugenie Leontovich) to sign a contract with him. Directed with express-train speed by Abbott, the comedy delighted for 154 performances and later became the basis for the musical On the Twentieth Century.
Another highlight of the 1930s included the Group Theatre’s realistic production of Sidney Kingsley’s hospital drama Men in White, which won the Pulitzer Prize for the 1933-34 season. Starring Alexander Kirkland, Luther Adler, J. Edward Bromberg, Morris Carnovsky, and Russell Collins, it also featured such Group luminaries as Clifford Odets and Elia Kazan. Staged by Lee Strasberg, the play contained an operation scene that held audiences spellbound with its chilling realism.
Eva Le Gallienne brought her Civic Repertory Company to the Broadhurst in 1934 and performed with Ethel Barrymore (and Barrymore’s children, Ethel and Samuel Colt) in Rostand’s costume play L’Aiglon. Without Ethel, Le Gallienne also presented and acted in Hedda Gabler and The Cradle Song.
On January 7, 1935, Leslie Howard returned to the Broadhurst in Robert E. Sherwood’s The Petrified Forest. He enthralled audiences with his portrayal of an intellectual wanderer who allows a gangster to kill him so that he may leave his insurance money to a lovely young woman who wishes to study art in Paris. The gangster was played so vividly by Humphrey Bogart that Leslie Howard brought him to Hollywood to repeat his performance in the film version, which made him a star.
Helen Hayes scored perhaps her greatest triumph in Victoria Regina in 1935, playing the queen from a young girl to an aged monarch with remarkable physical changes. Gilbert Miller’s lavish production and staging, and the enormous cast, including Vincent Price as Prince Albert, made this one of the Broadhurst’s most memorable events.
The remainder of the 1930s included Ruth Gordon’s brilliant Nora in A Doll’s House, which moved from the Morosco in 1938; Dodie Smith’s charming family-reunion play Dear Octopus (1939); the great Bill Robinson in Mike Todd’s splashy production of The Hot Mikado (1939); and Carmen Miranda’s cyclonic Broadway debut in The Streets of Paris (1939), a lusty revue also starring Bobby Clark, Abbott and Costello, Luella Gear, Gower (Champion) and Jeanne, and Jean Sablon.
During the 1940s, musicals, revues, and comedies brightened the Broadhurst. Ed Wynn convulsed his fans in Boys and Girls Together (1940), with Jane Pickens and the dancing DeMarcos. George Jessel, Bert Kalmar, and Harry Ruby created a lively musical about a burlesque troupe, High Kickers (1941). Jessel, Sophie Tucker, Betty Bruce, and a cast of burlesque comics turned it into a hit. Eva Le Gallienne and Joseph Schildkraut sent shivers down the spine in the mystery melodrama Uncle Harry (1942). Dorothy Kilgallen’s husband, Richard Kollmar, produced and starred in Early to Bed (1943), a Fats Waller musical about a track team that mistakes a bordello for a hotel. It ran for 380 performances despite bad reviews.
Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians, with practically the entire cast ending as stiffs, enjoyed success in 1944. Follow the Girls (1945), a noisy musical with Jackie Gleason and Gertrude Niesen, moved from the New Century to the Broadhurst and stayed for almost a year. Three to Make Ready (1946), the third and last of the revue series by Nancy Hamilton and Morgan Lewis, starred Ray Bolger, Gordon MacRae, Brenda Forbes, Arthur Godfrey, Harold Lang, and Carleton Carpenter and ran five months after it moved to the Broadhurst from the Adelphi. Helen Hayes returned in Happy Birthday (1946), a comedy by Anita Loos about a shy Newark, New Jersey, librarian, and the sentimental play ran for 564 performances.
From 1948 to 1950, four revues played the Broadhurst. They were Make Mine Manhattan, with Sid Caesar, David Burns, Sheila Bond, Joshua Shelley, and Kyle MacDonnell; Nancy Walker, Jackie Gleason, Hank Ladd, and Carol Bruce in Along Fifth Avenue; Charles Gaynor’s delirious Lend an Ear (which moved from the National Theatre), with Carol Channing, Yvonne Adair, William Eythe, Gene Nelson, and Jenny Lou Law; and Jean and Walter Kerr’s Touch and Go, with Nancy Andrews, Peggy Cass, Dick Sykes, Kyle MacDonnell, Helen Gallagher, and Jonathan Lucas.
The 1950s brought some long-running hits to the Broadhurst, but Romeo and Juliet, with Olivia de Havilland and Douglas Watson, was not one of them. It achieved only 49 performances in 1951. An interesting musical, Flahooley, with Barbara Cook, Ernest Truex, Jerome Courtland, Irwin Corey, Yma Sumac, and the Bil Baird Marionettes, managed only 40 performances in 1951 but later attracted a small cult following. A musical version of Seventeen (1951) fared much better, playing for 180 performances. A revival of the 1940 Rodgers and Hart musical Pal Joey (1952), with Vivienne Segal repeating her role as the lusty Vera, who keeps the young Joey (Harold Lang) in a luxurious love nest, was even more successful than the original production, running for 540 performances.
Katharine Cornell starred in a fair melodrama, The Prescott Proposals (1953), by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. Kitty Carlisle and Macdonald Carey had a comparatively long run in a vapid comedy, Anniversary Waltz (1954). Sidney Kingsley turned comic with a madcap play, Lunatics and Lovers (1954), starring Buddy Hackett, Dennis King, Sheila Bond, and Vicki Cummings, which had a healthy run.
Also in the 1950s, Shirley Booth found a suitable vehicle in William Marchant’s The Desk Set (1955); Rosalind Russell made Auntie Mame immortal (1956); and The World of Suzie Wong (1958), a bit of pseudo-Oriental romantic claptrap starring William Shatner and France Nuyen, managed to last for 508 performances.
The last show of the 1950s — the musical Fiorello! by Jerome Weidman, George Abbott, Sheldon Harnick, and Jerry Bock — brought another Pulitzer Prize to this theatre. Tom Bosley played the beloved Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia and won a Tony for his performance. The show also won Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Direction (Abbott), Best Book (Weidman and Abbott), Best Music (Bock), Best Lyrics (Harnick), and Best Producers of a Musical (Robert Griffith and Harold Prince).
In 1962 Noël Coward’s musical Sail Away sailed into the Broadhurst, with Elaine Stritch as a hostess on a luxury liner, but it was all too dated and chichi for 1960's audiences and it departed for London after 167 performances. Richard Rodgers fared better with No Strings, the first musical for which he wrote both music and lyrics, with a book by Samuel Taylor. The show moved here from the Fifty-fourth Street Theatre and starred Richard Kiley and Diahann Carroll. They made beautiful music together for 580 performances.
Other interesting Broadhurst bookings in the 1960s included the Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt musical 110 in the Shade (1963); the British import Oh What a Lovely War (1964); and another British musical, Half a Sixpence (1965), starring Tommy Steele.
On November 20, 1966, a cherished musical came to this theatre: Cabaret, a musical version of John Van Druten’s play I Am a Camera, which in turn was adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s stories about his youthful days in Berlin, dazzled audiences with its innovative direction by Harold Prince and Joel Grey’s mesmerizing performance as the leering nightclub Emcee. The brilliant show won the following Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Musical Director (Prince), Best Music and Lyrics (Fred Ebb and John Kander), Best Supporting Actor (Grey), Best Supporting Actress (Peg Murray), Best Set Designer (Boris Aronson), and Best Costumes (Patricia Zipprodt). It ran for 1,166 performances, but not all at the Broadhurst.
Next at this theatre was Eugene O’Neill’s More Stately Mansions, starring Ingrid Bergman, Colleen Dewhurst, and Arthur Hill, directed by José Quintero; and Woody Allen’s Play It Again, Sam, starring Allen, Tony Roberts, and Diane Keaton.
By the 1970s the revue genre was dead and the Broadhurst fare veered from dramas and comedies to musicals. Highlights included Sada Thompson’s brilliant portrayal of three sisters and their mother in Twigs (1971), by George Furth; Grease, a rock musical about the aftereffects of “summer love” on high school students in the 1950s, which moved from the downtown Eden Theatre to the Broadhurst and became (briefly) the longest-running musical in Broadway history (after a move to the Royale); Neil Simon’s uproarious comedy about two veteran comics, The Sunshine Boys (1972); John Wood in a marvelous revival of William Gillette’s Sherlock Holmes (1974); Katharine Hepburn and Christopher Reeve in Enid Bagnold’s curious comedy A Matter of Gravity (1976); and the wonderful musical Godspell (1976), based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew, which moved from its long Off-Broadway run to the Broadhurst, where it added another 527 performances.
Preston Jones’s ambitious work A Texas Trilogy (1976) was not as successful in New York as it had been in Washington, D.C. Larry Gelbart’s Sly Fox (1976), a wild adaptation of Ben Johnson’s Volpone, featured George C. Scott and Bob Dishy giving bravura performances. Bob Fosse’s dance explosion, Dancin’ (1978), a revue spotlighting Fosse’s flashy choreography and Broadway’s best dancers, ran at the Broadhurst for almost three years (becoming the theatre’s longest-running show) before moving to the Ambassador Theatre.
Dancin’ was followed by another triumph. On December 17, 1980, Peter Shaffer’s acclaimed London play Amadeus opened at the theatre, with Ian McKellen as Salieri, Tim Curry as a comic Mozart, and Jane Seymour as the composer’s wife. The season’s most distinguished offering, it won the Tony Award for Best Play and McKellen won as Best Actor. This drama was followed by the musical The Tap Dance Kid, about a talented youngster who is driven by the need to dance.
In 1984 Dustin Hoffman starred in a new production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman; this was followed by a gender-switched revised version of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple starring Sally Struthers and Rita Moreno as the mismatched roommates; a new production of O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night starring Jack Lemmon and Bethel Leslie; a return engagement of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby; Neil Simon’s popular Broadway Bound, which won a Tony Award for Linda Lavin; Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Aspects of Love; Joan Collins in a revival of Noël Coward’s Private Lives; the short-lived Shimada; and Andre Heller’s strange vaudeville evening, Wonderhouse.
The Broadhurst next served as home for Harold Prince’s multi-Tony Award-winning musical Kiss of the Spider Woman, with a score by Kander and Ebb and a book by Terrence McNally, starring Chita Rivera, Brent Carver, and Anthony Crivello, all of whom won Tony Awards for their performances. The musical, about prisoners in a Brazilian jail who escape into fantasies culled from movie musicals, had a long run of 906 performances.
The New York Shakespeare Festival brought George C. Wolfe’s production of The Tempest to the Broadhurst on November 1, 1995. Patrick Stewart was praised for his performance as Prospero. The revival thrived for 71 performances. The next tenant at this theatre, in March 1996, was an unsuccessful comedy thriller called Getting Away with Murder by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth. In the cast were John Rubinstein, Christine Ebersole, Terrence Mann, and others, but the critics found the play neither thrilling nor funny. It expired after 17 performances.
Just in time for Christmas 1996, a new production of the musical Once upon a Mattress arrived, but it did not enjoy the success of the 1959 production, which had brought stardom to Carol Burnett. Sarah Jessica Parker, Jane Krakowski, Lewis Cleale, and David Aaron Baker headed the cast of the new version, and the show, despite mostly negative reviews, managed to run for 187 performances.
On April 29, 1998, David Hare’s The Judas Kiss opened for a limited engagement. It starred Liam Neeson as Oscar Wilde and Tom Hollander as his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The play received mixed reviews, with some critics feeling that Neeson was miscast as the voluptuary poet. It ran for 38 performances.
A blockbuster came to the Broadhurst on January 14, 1999: Fosse, an exuberant dance revue spotlighting the choreography of Bob Fosse from his Broadway and Hollywood musicals. The razzle-dazzle spectacle found immediate favor with audiences and went on to win the 1999 Tony Award as Best Musical. Some of the numbers were repeats from the earlier Fosse revue — Dancin’ — but were brilliantly recreated by Ann Reinking, Chet Walker, and Gwen Verdon and explosively performed by 32 dancers. It ran more than 1,100 performances.
Two of our greatest modern actors, Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren, were locked in marital battle in a revival of August Strindberg’s Dance of Death from October 2001 to January 2002.
Modern special effects and a new song were added to the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical Into the Woods for an April 2002 revival that featured Vanessa Williams as the Witch and John McMartin as the Narrator. It won the Tony Award as Best Revival of a Musical and ran for 279 performances.
It was followed March 27, 2003. by another tuner, Urban Cowboy, based on a popular 1980 film. But the urban cowboy fad was long over by the time the musical came along, and director Lonny Price ultimately drew on 30 songwriters to stitch together the score, which was heard only 60 times. Most of the best original songs were supplied by Jason Robert Brown, who also served as the show’s music director and started off Act II at the piano, leading the orchestra in playing one of his pieces, “That’s How Texas Was Born.” For many in the audience, it was the high point of the show.
The creators of the musical Never Gonna Dance sought to recapture the swirling magic of the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films. Libretttist Jeffrey Hatcher threaded a treasure chest full of Jerome Kern song gems into a made-up story. Director Michael Greif worked with choreographer Jerry Mitchell to present limber leads Noah Racey and Nancy Lemenager in a series of showcase dances, including a memorable one set on a series of upright girders meant to be the top of an under-construction skyscraper. Critics judged that these efforts fell short, however, and the production, which opened on December 4, 2003, closed on February 15, 2004, after 44 previews and 84 regular performances.
Comedian Billy Crystal managed to be both funny and moving in his solo show 700 Sundays, a memoir of his childhood on Long Island, and especially of his father, a jazz aficionado who ran a record store in Manhattan. The production won the Tony Award as Best Theatrical Event and ran 163 performance starting December 5, 2004. It also set a new record for a single week’s box-office take for a nonmusical production on Broadway: $1,061,688 for the week ending May 22, 2005. It held the record for more than four years.
The idea of having multiple actors play rock superstar John Lennon in the biographical jukebox musical Lennon might have looked good on paper, which may be why his widow, Yoko Ono, approved director/librettist Don Scardino’s brainchild. Will Chase, Chuck Cooper, Terrence Mann, Chad Kimball, and others each got their crack at a different facet of the great Beatle, but audiences were confused. Moreover, the sketchily biographical show put much greater emphasis on Lennon’s later years with Ono, giving short shrift to his years with the Beatles. The production opened August 14, 2005, and said “good night” 49 performances later.
Opening April 23, 2006, Alan Bennett’s London hit The History Boys took up the issue of sexual impropriety by a beloved teacher directed at students at an English boys’ academy. Richard Griffiths won the Tony Award for his performance as the motorcycle-riding pedagogue, and the play was named the best of 2006 by the Tony voters. It ran 185 performances and was made into a film with key members of the original cast.
Barely three and a half years after completing its original Broadway run, Boublil and Schönberg’s Les Misérables got a November 9, 2006, revival widely criticized as premature. Nevertheless, with Alexander Gemignani as the steadfast Jean Valjean, Norm Lewis as the implacable Javert, Gary Beach as the slimy Thénardier, and Celia Keenan-Bolger as the tragic Eponine, the production was welcomed back by audiences for a further 463 performances.
There was talk around Broadway for several years about a revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that would feature an all African-American cast. Onetime actress and dancer Debbie Allen waited until she had assembled a stellar cast, and the production opened March 6, 2008, with James Earl Jones as Big Daddy, Phylicia Rashad as Big Mama, Anika Noni Rose as a juicy Maggie, and, making his Broadway debut, Terrence Howard as a deeply brooding Brick. This powerful, sexy production gave 125 performances.
Paparazzi and fans mobbed the Broadhurst stage door each night for a glimpse of the star of the September 2008 revival of Equus. Daniel Radcliffe, originator of the title role in the Harry Potter film series, played the tortured Alan Strang, opposite Richard Griffiths as his psychiatrist. Directed by Thea Sharrock, the UK-originated production made great use of sound effects and a revolving stage to create the world of the strange boy who blinds a stable full of horses after building a religion around them. Gregory Clarke won a Tony Award for Sound Design, and production was near capacity for much of the show’s 156-performance scheduled run.
A lionized London revival of Friedrich Schiller’s drama Mary Stuart from the Donmar Warehouse Theatre enthroned itself at the Broadhurst April 19, 2009, with Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter recreating their roles as rival queens (and cousins) Mary Queen of Scots and Mary I of England. Both star performances were cheered by New York critics, and set/costume designer Anthony Ward won a Tony Award for, among other things, a scene in which McTeer, on a few minutes’ release from long imprisonment, danced in a very convincing rainstorm. April 19, 2009, was the opening and August 16, 2009, was the closing.
As the weather changed outside the Broadhurst, Jude Law brought his driven Hamlet from London, beginning October 6, 2009, and delivered his great soliloquy in an onstage snowstorm. He was Broadway’s 66 Hamlet on record, and he gave 72 performances in the role.
The disastrous collapse of the Enron energy company in the 1990s was the subject of a British import drama, Lucy Prebble’s play with music, Enron, which debuted at the Broadhurst on April 27, 2010. Norbert Leo Butz was featured as Jeffrey Skilling, and the show was presented as a parable of human greed with considerable significance for events of the late 2000s. Despite its popularity in London, the New York production closed after 16 performances.
Al Pacino and Lily Rabe headed the cast of The Merchant of Venice, which opened on November 13, 2010, after playing in repertory with The Winter's Tale as part of the New York Shakespeare Festival the previous summer. The play was a hit with critics as well as audiences, and was nominated for a number of Tony and Drama Desk Awards.