NEW YORK - Arthur Miller and Anton Chekhov were Broadway moneymakers this season - with a little help from Katie Holmes and Kristin Scott Thomas.
Two of the fall's more star-studded revivals - Miller's "All My Sons" and Chekhov's "The Seagull" - have recouped their considerable New York investments.
"All My Sons," one of Miller's most popular and best-known plays, has paid back its $3.25 million production costs, producer Eric Falkenstein announced Monday. And "The Seagull," which cost $2.55 million, has turned a profit, too, according to producer Sonia Friedman.
"New York audiences have been wonderful and proved that it's possible for Chekhov to be a commercial success on Broadway, which is a huge achievement for all concerned," Friedman said.
"I consider myself incredibly lucky to be part of this production, this cast, this director, this design team, this author," Falkenstein said about "All My Sons." "Arthur would be so pleased about the extent to which his play has electrified audiences and caused such a stir."
Both shows used a game plan that is becoming the way to go if you want to make money producing plays on Broadway: stars in limited engagements. It helps if the reviews are good, too.
"All My Sons" was shrewdly cast with actors who would appeal to a wide range of theatergoers from theater veterans such as John Lithgow and Dianne Wiest to the up-and-coming Patrick Wilson to Holmes, wife of a certain Hollywood megastar. The revival ends its run Jan. 11.
"The Seagull" arrived with rave London notices and with a cast that, besides Thomas, featured Peter Sarsgaard. The production closes Dec. 21.
Look for the star, limited-run formula to continue this spring on Broadway.
Among the revival productions: Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit," with Angela Lansbury, Christine Ebersole and Rupert Everett; a new adaptation of Schiller's "Mary Stuart," featuring the British actresses Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter, and Eugene O'Neill's "Desire Under the Elms," with Brian Dennehy and Carla Gugino.
New plays will have star-power, too, including "33 Variations," starring Jane Fonda, and "Impressionism," with Jeremy Irons, Joan Allen and Marsha Mason in the cast.