The Playgoer: God of Cash

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

God of Cash

With the possible exception of the West Side Story revival, Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage is, believe it or not, the biggest hit on Broadway.

What's the secret of this European 4-hander with no flying scenery or songs? Over to Riedel:

1. Stars: James Gandolfini, Marcia Gay Harden, Jeff Daniels and Hope Davis collectively are a draw.

2. Running time: 90 minutes. Short and sweet, and you're in bed by 11 p.m.

3. Style: Sophisticated but not difficult. You feel smart while you're watching "Carnage," but you won't have a headache from thinking too hard.

And you can follow the plot even if you've had a couple of pre-theater martinis at Sardi's.

4. Audience: At a time when tourists (who until recently made up more than 60 percent of the customers) are in short supply, "Carnage" is drawing New Yorkers back to Shubert Alley.

"The area codes for ticket buyers are almost all Manhattan," says a production source.

The homegrown audience is indeed heartening. But as for any celebrity appeal, let's be honest. The non-Sopranos segment of the cast, fine actors though they are, are hardly box office catnip.

Still, I do hear Gandolfini is terrific. True?

1 comment:

Monica said...

Jeff Daniels and Hope Davis I agree aren't big box office names.

But I think that Marcia Gay Harden is. She's a big film name, with out being like uber-big.