The Performers, With Cheyenne Jackson, Henry Winkler, Alicia Silverstone, Ends Brief Broadway Run Nov. 18

By Andrew Gans
and Michael Gioia
November 18, 2012

David West Read's The Performers, the new Broadway comedy that officially opened Nov. 14, plays its final performance Nov. 18 at the Longacre Theatre.



At the time of closing, the production — which marked the Broadway bow of Read, who made his Off-Broadway debut with the critically acclaimed The Dream of the Burning Boy — will have played 23 previews (two previews were canceled due to Hurricane Sandy) and seven regular performances. Previews began Oct. 23. 

Henry Winkler, who is best known for his work as The Fonz on the long-running situation comedy "Happy Days," plays Chuck Wood, an aging adult film star, in The Performers, which is set at the Adult Film Awards in Las Vegas. The cast also features Xanadu and "30 Rock" star Cheyenne Jackson, Tony nominee Daniel Breaker (Broadway's Shrek the Musical), Ari Graynor, Jenni Barber and Alicia Silverstone (Broadway's Time Stands Still and The Graduate).

Evan Cabnet directed the 90-minute intermissionless comedy. Read the Playbill.com On Opening Night column

The Performers, according to press notes, "is a romantic comedy about two high school friends (Cheyenne Jackson and Daniel Breaker) — and the women in their lives (Ari Graynor and Alicia Silverstone, respectively) — who reconnect at the Adult Film Awards in Las Vegas. When the night takes an unexpected turn and relationships are threatened, Chuck Wood (Henry Winkler), the hardest-working man in the business, steps in to lend a hand.  Sex, love and Barry Manilow intersect in this comedy about the ups and downs and ins and outs of love."  

Cheyenne Jackson, who plays adult film actor Mandrew, previously told Playbill.com, "Mandrew is very near and dear to my heart. First of all, this is the funniest script I've read in two years, and I've been waiting to come back to Broadway in the right project. [Producer] Robyn [Goodman] sent me the script, and for some reason, I just knew immediately — as soon as I read it — it jumped off the page to me. I knew how he spoke. I knew what his fears were. I knew what his insecurities were....I just knew that this was the part for me. He's very serious about this. This is art. He wants to make a difference. He wants to be taken seriously. He wants to make an impression in the world. He wants to impress his mom.

Henry Winkler
photo by Carol Rosegg

"Ari Graynor plays my wife," the singing actor continued. "She's also an adult film star. And, in my research, I interviewed several adult film stars and have found there are several couples that work in the industry. And, that's fascinating to me that both of them are adult entertainers. How does that work jealousy-wise? It's something that we discuss and is definitely a plot point. There's something called a 'no list' — you can work with this person, but you can't work with this person. You can do this, but no kissing. It's fascinating to me. He's really serious, and he's really funny, and he's really excited."

Click here to read Playbill.com's Brief Encounter interview with playwright David West Read.

The production featured set design by Anna Louizos, lighting design by Jeff Croiter, costume design by Jessica Wegener Shay and sound design by Nevin Steinberg.

Producers were Robyn Goodman, Amanda Lipitz and Scott R. Delman.

Winkler has appeared on Broadway in The Dinner Party and 45 Seconds from Broadway. Well known for his role as Fonzie on "Happy Days," his screen credits also include "Arrested Development," "Out of Practice" and "Third Watch." He has appeared in the films "Night Shift," "The King of Central Park," "Down to You" and "The Waterboy." 

Read the Playbill magazine feature about Henry Winkler.

Longacre Theatre is located at 220 W. 48th St. in New York City. Patrons can purchase tickets by calling Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 or by visiting telecharge.com.