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Box Office Fires Up as Durang’s Tony Winner Becomes Hit

'Vanya and Masha and Sonia and Spike'
Billy Magnussen, Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce in "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike." The play sold a record $711,000 of tickets last week. Photographer: T. Charles Erickson/McCarter Theatre Center via Bloomberg

June 25 (Bloomberg) -- In “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” David Hyde Pierce bemoans the passing of typewriters, carbon paper, “The Adventures of Ozzie And Harriet” and people doing just one thing at a time.

He must have struck a nerve: Christopher Durang’s wistful comedy, set in a Bucks County, Pennsylvania, farmhouse, is shaping up as a hit. The roughly $2.2 million production is on track to pay back investors before Sigourney Weaver exits the cast on July 28, based on a preliminary budget obtained by Bloomberg.

Lead producer Joey Parnes confirmed that the production should recoup by the end of next month.

“It might even be sooner,” he said in an interview.

Last week, the show, which just won the Tony Award for best play of the season, grossed a record $711,000, according to figures from the Broadway League, a trade association. Since previews began on March 5, it’s averaged $470,000, or about $430,000 after deducting for credit card commissions and other costs.

Weekly operating expenses are about $300,000, according to the budget, which was obtained from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman through a Freedom of Information Law request.

The show played to 99 percent capacity last week at the 787-seat Golden Theater, one of Broadway’s smallest houses.

Other bestsellers continue to sell out, according to figures from the League. “Kinky Boots,” the Tony-winning best musical, sold $1.5 million of tickets, up 2 percent. “Matilda” sold $1.2 million, “Pippin” did $1 million and “Motown” was up slightly to $1.4 million. All had a record week.

Holland Taylor’s “Ann” and Alan Cumming’s virtually one-man “Macbeth” bounced slightly after last week’s record-low grosses. “Ann,” which sold $236,000, closes on Sunday. “Macbeth,” at $300,000, ends July 14.

Julie White takes over for Weaver in the role of Masha in the Durang play on July 30. She will be sharing the stage with a housekeeper named Cassandra (Shalita Grant) who gleefully announces that, “this afternoon, Bucks County will have an earthquake...chunks of Florida fell into the ocean yesterday. Tomorrow more chunks are gonna fall into the ocean.”

Before any of that happens, investors in “Vanya” can take solace in potentially earning a profit before the Aug. 25 scheduled closing date.

Muse highlights include Craig Seligman on Lionel Shriver and New York Scene.

Related News and Information: Top arts and lifestyle stories: {MUSE <GO>} Theater reviews: {NI THEAREV <GO>}

To contact the reporter on this story: Philip Boroff in New York at pboroff@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff in New York at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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