‘ICEMAN’ GOETH? Will Goodman Theatre’s production of the O’Neill classic find its way to Broadway?
By Hedy Weiss Theater Criticfirstname.lastname@example.org June 15, 2012 12:44PM
Nathan Lane is a revelation in his turn as Theodore “Hickey” Hickman, the quintessential slayer of pipe dreams in “The Iceman Cometh” at the Goodman Theatre. There is talk of the show transferring to Broadway.
Updated: July 17, 2012 12:43PM
To be sure, director Robert Falls’ production of Eugene O’Neill’s epic play, “The Iceman Cometh,” which, according to the Goodman Theatre¹s executive director, Roche Schulfer, has been playing to 100 percent capacity, has garnered extraordinary reviews both here and nationally.
But with its enormous ensemble cast of 18 (22 if you count the required understudies), the star presence of Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy, a massive set, and a running time of close to five hours, is the possibility of a transfer to Broadway anything more than a pipe dream?
That is the looming question for the show which is still hosting visits from producers and other interested parties as it moves towards its final Chicago performance Sunday.
Here’s the rub: From the start, the O’Neill estate made it clear that Scott Rudin, the ubiquitous producer of film and theater (he is a lead producer on the megahit, “The Book of Mormon”), holds the rights to the play at the moment. He granted the Goodman permission to perform the work, but reserved any subsequent use of those rights.
“Although Mr. Rudin has not seen the production, and he may have passed on producing the show in New York, there are rumors that he might have sent people he knows to see it without actually announcing the fact,” said Schulfer. “He might still be having talks with potential partners. And there are a number of other interested parties who might step in and offer to produce it if he agrees. But at this point, the whole decision is really out of our hands.”
Schulfer said no budget numbers for a Broadway transfer have been discussed, but an average Broadway drama costs about $2.5 million and this show is anything BUT average on all counts. Ticket prices would no doubt have to be “in the three figures, but, according to Schulfer, Broadway has shown that people will pay that.”
Schulfer also noted he has “a hunch that something will happen soon — that if there is to be a transfer we will know by the end of June, if only because the actors have to plan their future commitments.” He also said that it is his understanding that “there are Broadway theaters that will be available.”