SEA WALL / A LIFE Recoups on Broadway
Sea Wall / A Life has become the first show of the new 2019-2020 Broadway season to recoup its initial investment. The rare feat of recoupment is all the more impressive given the production's extremely short nine-week engagement at Hudson Theatre (141 West 44th Street). The strictly limited run of just 74 performances concluded on Sunday, September 29 with a gross of $854,678, the highest in the show's history.
During the show's run, Sea Wall / A Life saw an average capacity of 96%. The show also attracted an unprecedented number of young and first-time theater goers. Ambassador Theatre Group, which owns Hudson Theatre, reported that 73% of ticket buyers were first time attendees according to its database and TodayTix cited 65% of purchases for the production on its platform were under 44 years old.
Riva Marker, producer and president of Nine Stories which she founded with Jake Gyllenhaal said, "Simon, Nick, Carrie, Jake, and Tom created a daring and unforgettable piece of art that critics and audiences responded to, with many returning multiple times. The great success of Sea Wall / A Life proved that storytelling in its most elemental form - a single actor, alone on stage - can connect with people and create a must-see theatrical experience. Opening on Broadway during the season's toughest months of summer for a limited run and returning our investment in nine weeks is nothing short of a coup. We are incredibly grateful to the audiences, many first-time theatergoers to Hudson Theatre."
Starring Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and Tony Award nominee Tom Sturridge, two of the finest actors of their generation, Sea Wall / A Life began previews Friday, July 26 and officially opened on Thursday, August 8 at Hudson Theatre, playing a total of 14 previews and 60 regular performances.
Written by Tony Award winner Simon Stephens and Olivier Award nominee Nick Payne and directed by Carrie Cracknell, the acclaimed production came to Broadway following its sold-out engagement at The Public Theater.
The production was an extremely rare double New York Times Critic's Pick. On Broadway, Laura Collins-Hughes called the production, "Exquisite. This is the reason we go to live theater," while Jesse Green exclaimed Sea Wall / A Life was, "beautifully acted - Tom Sturridge is so natural and convincing. Jake Gyllenhaal is priceless."
At the start of previews, the producers of Sea Wall / A Life made it a priority to draw audiences into the experience. The production worked with renowned French photographer JR who took portraits of the first preview audience and then created a large-scale art installation at the stage door of Hudson Theatre allowing audiences to both be a part of the art installation and engage with it, a theme that deeply connects to the storytelling that happened inside the theater.
As the show approached opening night, Gyllenhaal and Sturridge began hosting weekly talkbacks allowing audience members to ask questions of the cast, but more importantly to share their own stories of love, faith, family, and loss.
Inspired by these deeply personal tales, as the production entered its final weeks, they invited audience members to share their stories and process the experience of seeing Sea Wall / A Life on camera, resulting in moments of raw honesty. Those people empowered the production to share their stories on social media to encourage connection with those people we encounter every day.
The creative team for Sea Wall / A Life featured Tony Award nominee Laura Jellinek (scenic design), Obie Award winner Kaye Voyce (costume design), Christopher Peterson (costume design), Olivier Award winner Guy Hoare (lighting design), Tony Award nominee Daniel Kluger (sound design), BAFTA Award winner Luke Halls(projection design), and Ivor Novello Award nominee Stuart Earl (original music).
Photo Credit: Richard Hubert Smith
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