The Playgoer: The Iceman Payeth?

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Iceman Payeth?

You just may start hearing incredible buzz soon about the Kevin Spacey Moon for the Misbegotten being the must-see event of the season. Not that the prospects aren't good, and the London reception was encouraging. But as Mr. Riedel reports, there just may be some other reason behind all that.

The acclaimed actor is demanding such a hefty paycheck, some people involved in the show worry that there won't be anything left for the backers.

Spacey, who's bringing the show to New York from his theater company in London, is said to be angling for a guaranteed weekly salary of $25,000, plus 10 percent of the weekly gross receipts over $350,000....

The problem for his backers is that "Moon"-which is being produced for $2.5 million - is scheduled to run only 10 weeks at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Factor in all the other production costs, and the show has to sell a lot of seats - many at premium prices of $250 or more - just to break even, production sources say.

"It's insane," says one. "You can't pay him that kind of money for only 10 weeks."

"There is no room for error," adds a veteran producer, who's not involved in the show. "It has to be the hottest thing in town."

Good luck, guys.

Well I suppose if Long Day's Journey could be such a surprise summertime hit a few years ago (not to mention Spacey's 1999 Iceman Cometh) then their recoup chances aren't totally hopeless. But, as Riedel reminds us, didn't Cherry Jones and Gabriel Byrne just do this play?

And Moon is a much more "difficult" play than Journey, which always gets misunderstood as an All-American Family Drama.

Yet another test coming up of just how serious the B'way audience is willing to get these days.

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