If anyone still had doubts about Hugh Jackman being a guarantee of box-office gold on Broadway, the announcement that his latest vehicle, The River, has recouped its $3.2 million investment in just a month should be proof enough.
Lead producer Sonia Friedman confirmed on Friday that the Jez Butterworth play, directed by Ian Rickson, has earned back its capitalization, meaning a healthy profit can be expected from the remainder of the run, which is s scheduled through Feb. 8.
The news comes on the heels of the announcement earlier in the week that the all-star revival of the Terrence McNally comedy It’s Only a Play also recouped, getting this season off to a strong start for nonmusicals.
First produced at London’s Royal Court Theatre in 2012, The River stars Jackman alongside Laura Donnelly and Cush Jumbo in an enigmatic drama about a trout fisherman in a remote cabin and his attempts on a moonless night to recapture the woman of his dreams.
The Broadway transfer began previews on Oct. 31 at the Circle in the Square and officially opened on Nov. 16. While reviews for the play itself were far more mixed than in London, critics generally had high praise for the production, and Jackman in particular.
The actor has previously been a major draw on Broadway in the Peter Allen bio-musical The Boy From Oz, for which he won a Tony Award for best actor; in the cop drama A Steady Rain, starring opposite Daniel Craig; and in his song-and-dance show Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway. The commercial success of The River demonstrates that Jackman’s star power also translates to more challenging material.
The production has been playing to capacity audiences since the start of previews, with grosses of $5.5 million through Dec. 14. The fast recoupment is all the more remarkable in a theater that seats less than 700 people, and for a production with an affordable-ticket policy of offering a significant number of $35 and $95 seats at every performance.
Other producers on the show with Friedman are Stuart Thompson, Scott Rudin, Roger Berlind, Colin Callender, Scott Landis and Tulchin Bartner Productions.