Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, (10/09/2014 - 1/18/2015)
Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, (1/23/2015 - 6/07/2015)

First Preview: Aug 28, 2014
Opening Date: Oct 09, 2014
Closing Date: Jun 07, 2015
Total Previews: 48
Total Performances: 274

Category: Play, Comedy, Original, Broadway
Comments: Premiered off-off-Broadway at the Actors and Directors Theatre in 1982, produced by Manhattan Punch Line, and then ran Off-Broadway at New York City Center Stage 1 in 1986, produced by Manhattan Theatre Club. Was considered a "Revival" for the purposes of the Tony nominations in 2015.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Philip J. Smith: Chairman; Robert E. Wankel: President)

Produced by Tom Kirdahy, Roy Furman, Ken Davenport, Hunter Arnold, Morris Berchard and Susan Dietz, Caiola Productions, Carl Daikeler, Jim Fantaci, Wendy Federman, Barbara Freitag and Loraine Alterman Boyle, Hugh Hayes, Jim Herbert, Ricardo F. Hornos, Stephanie Kramer, LAMS Productions, Scott Landis, Mark Lee & Ed Filipowski, Harold Newman, Roy Putrino, Sanford Robertson, Tom Smedes and Peter Stern and Brian Cromwell Smith

Written by Terrence McNally

Directed by Jack O'Brien; Associate Director: Michael Bradshaw Flynn

Scenic Design by Scott Pask; Costume Design by Ann Roth; Lighting Design by Philip Rosenberg; Sound Design by Fitz Patton; Hair and Wig Design by Campbell Young Associates; Makeup Design by Campbell Young Associates; Associate Scenic Design: Orit Jacoby Carroll and Jerome Martin; Associate Costume Design: Matthew Pachtman and Sarah Cubbage; Associate Lighting Design: Craig Stelzenmuller; Associate Sound Design: Justin Stasiw; Assistant Scenic Design: Jeff Hinchee; Moving Light Programmer: Alex Fogel

General Manager: Richards / Climan, Inc.; Company Manager: Doug Gaeta; Assistant Co. Mgr: Kendall Booher

Technical Supervisor: Hudson Theatrical Associates; Production Stage Manager: Jane Grey; Assistant Stage Mgr: Chris DeCamillis

Casting: Caparelliotis Casting; Advertising & Promotions: AKA; Digital: AKA; Marketing: DTE Agency and AKA; Press Representative: O&M Co.; Dog Training: Lydia DesRoche and Sit Stay Dog Training; Photographer: Joan Marcus

Opening Night Cast

F. Murray AbrahamIra Drew
Matthew BroderickPeter Austin
Stockard ChanningVirginia Noyes
Rupert Grint
Broadway debut
Frank Finger
(Aug 28, 2014 - Jan 04, 2015)
Nathan LaneJames Wicker
(Aug 28, 2014 - Jan 04, 2015)
Megan MullallyJulia Budder
(Aug 28, 2014 - Jan 04, 2015)
Micah Stock
Broadway debut
Gus P. Head

Standby: Ben Hollandsworth (Frank Finger, Gus P. Head), Isabel Keating (Julia Budder, Virginia Noyes) and Bob Stillman (Gus P. Head, Ira Drew, James Wicker, Peter Austin)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 2015 Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play [nominee] 

Micah Stock

Drama Desk Award

 2015 Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play [nominee] 

F. Murray Abraham

Theatre World

winner 2015 Award [recipient] 

Micah Stock


AP: "'It's Only A Play' Is Wickedly Funny"

Some people might call "It's Only A Play" a valentine to the theater, but you mustn't believe them.

Terrence McNally's play is not so much a love letter from a shy, smitten admirer as a mash note sent by a stalker who's written it in capital letters and smeared it with what may be bodily fluids.

Whatever it is, it's a pure hoot, a rollicking comedy with perfect casting and deft direction in Jack O'Brien that gleefully dissects modern Broadway and doesn't pretend to mask its targets by using fake names.

There are jokes about James Franco, Kelly Ripa, Alec Baldwin, Tommy Tune, Liza Minnelli, Shia LaBeouf — in legal trouble, of course — and snide comments about shows like "Matilda the Musical" and "Mamma Mia!" Ben Brantley, the powerful theater critic for The New York Times, is mentioned several times and even becomes the butt of a prank.

Four-time Tony Award-winning McNally has earned his right to laugh — this is his 21st Broadway production — and his knife work is like that of a five-star chef: enough to bleed, but good-naturedly enough to not nick the bone.

The seven-character play, which made its Broadway debut Thursday at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, is an offstage look at theater egos after the curtain comes down. Those in the audience who adore the minutia of the theater world — everyone knows who Tovah Feldshuh is, right? — will laugh the loudest.

Set in the elegant town house of a sweet but daffy producer (Megan Mullally), an opening-night party is raging downstairs for playwright Peter Austin (Matthew Broderick), who is making a nervous Broadway debut.

In the bedroom, his best friend (Nathan Lane) awaits the reviews, along with the play's wunderkind director (Rupert Grint, channeling a punk rock mania), a drama critic (a superb F. Murray Abraham) and the play's leading, but unsteady, lady (wonderful Stockard Channing), who gets lines like: "I do a lot of self-destructive things but I draw the line at television.")

As wisecracks fly, McNally uses the flood of coats that inevitably follow such parties to great effect. A wide-eyed coat check attendant (Micah Stock) periodically pops in with stories about the A-listers attending, his arms filled with coats from the various casts of Broadway shows crashing the soiree.

So we see colorful African-inspired garments from "The Lion King" and leather ones for "Rock of Ages." Even one of Grint's one-time co-stars in the "Harry Potter" films, doesn't escape a joke. Gus appears with a tiny, childlike coat and he says simply, "Daniel Radcliffe."

Lane is the unquestionable star here, at his droll best with perfect timing, mugging when he needs to or raising a haughty eyebrow to sell a joke the next. The rest of the cast — including a really remarkable Broadway debut by Stock in a company of powerful stars — is superb, all hysterical at first and then revealing deeper desires as the play continues.

The only discordant note is with Broderick, who is clearly playing a sort of stand-in for the real playwright. Broderick's character is too soft and earnest for this bunch of loons, and he's allowed too many navel-dazing monologues about the sorry state of theater.

"We have a lot to live up to tonight," he says in one heavy-handed exchange. "It depends on us to remind this city that there is more to Broadway than guest appearances or special effects and revivals or another play from London or another Disney movie made live."

McNally somewhat flails at finding a way for this all to end until landing on a cute — perhaps too cute — resolution. No matter. With Lane onstage, this madcap group gossiping and the coats flying, you'll not want the night to end anyway.


New York Daily News: "It's Only a Play"

Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick made magic and a megahit together in “The Producers” and scored a second Broadway jackpot, despite tepid notices, in “The Odd Couple.”

Now the Great White Way’s dynamic duo is back on stage in Terrence McNally’s 1985 comedy “It’s Only a Play.” The reunion is wildly hit and miss — Lane is the hit, while Broderick is the, well, you know.

Clown prince Lane nimbly nails the role of James Wicker, a TV star at the opening-night party of a Broadway play that he bailed on — even though the lead role was written for him by his best friend.

Wicker is custom-tailored for what Lane does best. Catty one-liners? Check. Sly slow burns? Check. High-spirited howls? Check. Lane makes the familiar fresh and delivers gusts of laughing gas.

Meanwhile, Broderick drains the air and momentum as playwright Peter Austin, Wicker’s BFF, who’s awaiting reviews of his show, “The Golden Egg.” When he enters for the first time, deep into the first act, it’s like someone dropped an anchor. Partly it’s his wishy-washy performance, partly it’s the script. Austin’s role is to underscore the importance of theater and the meaning of true-blue friendship. But he doesn’t get many funny lines.

Despite astute and acclaimed work in plays like “Master Class” and musicals including “Ragtime,” McNally’s writing here is uneven. Working with director Jack O’Brien, the author has brushed up his 30-year-old play with contemporary references but still hasn’t come up with a way to keep things afloat after reviews for the play-within-the-play come out.

The author’s main fuels are name-dropping, in-jokes and vulgarities. The Kardashians inspire an amusing bit about stunt casting. Wee Daniel Radcliffe sparks a cute sight gag. Scott Pask’s posh bedroom set is sprayed with F-bombs and “see you next Tuesdays.”

What’s lacking are surprises. Characters get one dimension apiece, including witless theater producer Julia Budder (Megan Mullally, recycling her “Will & Grace” voice); desperate diva Virginia Noyes (Stockard Channing, saucy under cruel makeup); quirky wunderkind director Frank Finger (a vigorous Rupert Grint); and creepy critic Ira Drew (F. Murray Abraham).

Completing the cast is Micah Stock, a Broadway rookie who more than holds his own as a simpleton coat check with the gift of ingratiation. One reason he makes such an impression is that he shows up on Broadway without any baggage — so the audience gets the joy of discovering a new talent making his major stage debut.

Besides good old dependable Nathan Lane, this diversion has good timing going for it. People are desperate for laughs and comedies on Broadway are bloody rare. If only McNally’s “Play” was more well-done.

New York Daily News

Replacement/Transfer Info

The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.

Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

(10/9/2014 - 1/18/2015)


Katie Finneran
Julia Budder (Jan 7, 2015 - Jun 7, 2015)
Maulik Pancholy
Broadway debut
Frank Finger (Jan 7, 2015 - Mar 22, 2015)
Martin Short
James Wicker (Jan 7, 2015 - Mar 29, 2015)

Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre

(1/23/2015 - 6/7/2015)

Company Manager: Alexandra Agosta(Jan 27, 2015 - ?).


Ben Hollandsworth
Frank Finger (Mar 24, 2015 - Mar 29, 2015)
T. R. Knight
Frank Finger (Mar 31, 2015 - Jun 7, 2015)
Nathan Lane
James Wicker (Mar 31, 2015 - Jun 7, 2015)

Standby: David Beach (Ira Drew, James Wicker, Peter Austin).

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