While she was eager for LeopoldstadtTony Award wins, including a crown for best play, producer Sonia Friedman offered some insightful thoughts about the scale and cost of Sunday night’s shows.
“Oooh, that’s a big conversation,” Friedman said when asked about the challenges of producing a show like Tom Stoppard’s multi-layered look at the persecution of Jews in Vienna, set between 1899 and 1955. Before the start LeopoldstadtFriedman had supported large-scale shows like Ferryman AND Harry Potter and the Cursed Childwho also hit Tony gold.
“Games of this caliber are under threat right now,” Friedman said, standing on stage in the press room Sunday next to Stoppard, who did not weigh in on the topic. “I don’t know that Broadway will see another show of this scale or breadth in terms of the number of people on stage for a while until the economics of Broadway make them more accessible to audiences and cheaper to was produced. It’s a very, very expensive landscape right now and the model needs some changes. So I don’t know when there will be a show like this again.”
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While the show gave Stoppard some of the most admirable notices of his august career, turning it into a profitable enterprise is more of an uphill battle than ever. “It’s a very, very, very high risk, no matter how big it is, no matter how big the estimate is, no matter how many people come,” she said. “It’s a tough financial environment right now for most shows, but especially shows that have a cast of 38 actors.”
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Friedman was asked why she and her producers continued with the show during Broadway’s lean winter months, when the industry was emerging from Covid but still hadn’t found its footing.
“Just the commitment to keep going,” she said. “There was no strategy. I just wanted the show to be seen by as many people as possible for as long as possible.”
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