Where Did This Year's Tony-Nominated Shows Originate? Imports From Off-Broadway, London and the '90s | Playbill

Tony Awards Where Did This Year's Tony-Nominated Shows Originate? Imports From Off-Broadway, London and the '90s There was a time when nearly all Broadway shows were produced specifically for Broadway and would open there — perhaps after a tryout tour, but one that was aimed expressly for Broadway. Nowadays shows originate Off-Broadway, in regional productions, in London and sometimes even further afield, and they sometimes stop at more than one of those places en route to Broadway.
Alex Sharp and company in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Photo by Joan Marcus

Playbill.com offers a run-down of where the 2015 nominated plays, musicals and revivals began their road to the Tonys. Some were developed over weeks or months, some a decade or more.

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time — Adapted by Simon Stephens from the novel of the same name by Mark Haddon. It originated Aug. 2, 2012 at the Royal National Theatre in the U.K. It transferred to a commercial production at London's Apollo Theatre in early 2013, but moved to the Gielgud Theatre in July of that year after the Apollo's roof collapsed. A new cast was assembled for the New York production, which kept the London director and design team, and which opened on Broadway Oct. 5, 2014.

DisgracedAyad Akhtar wrote this drama, which premiered Jan. 30, 2012 at American Theatre Company in Chicago. It was picked up by Lincoln Center Theater, which hosted its New York debut at the Off-Broadway LCT/3 Theatre, Oct. 22, 2012. It played an extended run there, through Dec. 23 of that year. In 2013, between productions, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Another extended run followed, this time at the Bush Theatre in London, May through June, 2014. The Broadway production followed on Oct. 23, 2014 with a different directing and design team, but with London leading man Hari Dhillon recreating his role in New York.

Hand to GodRobert Askins' original play had two Off-Broadway productions before coming to Midtown. It premiered in October 2011 at Off-Broadway's Ensemble Studio Theatre with Steven Boyer in the main role and direction by Moritz von Stuelpnagel. It did well enough that it had a return engagement in February 2012. MCC Theatre, another Off-Broadway company, hosted a second production, at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, in March 2014. That production, again with Boyer and von Stuelpnagel, transferred to the Booth Theatre on Broadway April 7, 2014.

Wolf Hall Parts One & Two — Michael Poulton based this pair of plays on Hilary Mantel's 2009 novels "Wolf Hall" and "Bring Up the Bodies." The Royal Shakespeare Company hosted its premiere at Stratford-upon-Avon in the U.K. in early 2014. It transferred to a commercial run at the Aldwych Theatre in the West End in May 2014 and ran through October 2014. Producers Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel brought that production largely intact to Broadway's Winter Garden Theatre, where it opened April 9, 2015.


An American in Paris — First discussed in 1998, the show went through two previous starts—one in 2001 with a book by Wendy Wasserstein, and another in 2008 with a book by Ken Ludwig. The current production, directed by Christopher Wheeldon with a book by Craig Lucas, was announced in June 2012 and had its premiere at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, in November 2014. That production moved to Broadway with the Paris cast and creative team mostly intact, and opened April 12, 2015.

Leanne Cope and Robert Fairchild in An American in Paris Photo by Angela Sterling

Fun Home — Based on Alison Bechdel's autobiographical 2006 graphic novel, the musical was developed in a 2009 workshop at the Ojai Playwrights Conference in California. It got a second workshop in 2012 at the Sundance Theatre Lab in Utah and another at The Public Theater's Public Lab in New York that same year. The show opened a full Off-Broadway subscription run at the Public Theater Sept. 30, 2013, directed by Sam Gold, and starring Beth Malone, Michael Cerveris, Sydney Lucas and Judy Kuhn. After multiple extensions of its limited run, the show was optioned for Broadway, where it opened April 19, 2015.

Something Rotten! — Brothers Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick began work on this original musical more than a decade ago, and presented a script to producer Kevin McCollum in 2010. McCollum had planned to follow the classic route of an out-of-town tryout (at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre) following a successful New York developmental workshop in October 2014. But when Broadway’s prime St. James Theatre became available after the closing of Side Show, McCollum made the decision to save the cost of a trip to the West Coast and open “cold” on Broadway without a tryout. Produced expressly for Broadway, the musical opened at the St. James April 22, 2015.

The Visit — Based on Friedrich Dürrenmatt's 1956 drama Der Besuch der alten Damehis production traveled the longest pre-Broadway developmental road on this list. It was written in the late 1990s as a vehicle for Angela Lansbury, and was originally schedule to open on Broadway in March 2001, but Lansbury withdrew when her husband fell ill (and subsequently died). Chita Rivera replaced her for the October 2001 Chicago tryout, which wound up not making its scheduled transfer. Rivera again starred in a 2008 production at the Signature Theatre in Virginia, but a hoped-for Broadway transfer failed to materialize. Rivera appeared in a 2011 concert version in New York. The current production, again starring Rivera, originated at Williamstown Theatre Festival in summer 2014, directed by John Doyle. Doyle and Rivera's version opened on Broadway April 23, 2015.

BEST PLAY REVIVAL The Elephant ManBernard Pomerance's 1977 Tony-winning drama got a revival in 2012 at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts, with Scott Ellis directing Bradley Cooper. Ellis and Cooper teamed again for this commercial Broadway production, which opened Dec. 7, 2014. The production team was led by James L. Nederlander and Terry Allen Kramer.

Bradley Cooper and Alessandro Nivola in The Elephant Man Photo by Joan Marcus

Skylight David Hare's 1995 drama got a commercial revival in June 2014 at Wyndham's Theatre in London, starring Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan, directed by Richard Eyre. The production transferred virtually intact to Broadway, opening April 2, 2015. The production team was led by Robert Fox and Scott Rudin.

This Is Our Youth — Kenneth Lonergan's 1996 Off-Broadway play was revived in June 2014 by Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago directed by Anna D. Shapiro, and starring Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, and Tavi Gevinson. The production was optioned by Scott Rudin, who produced a Broadway transfer that opened Sept. 11, 2014.

You Can't Take It With You — This revival of George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart's 1936 Pulitzer-winner was produced expressly for Broadway by a commercial producing team led by Jeff Richards and Jerry Frankel.


The King and I — Produced expressly for Broadway by Lincoln Center Theater.

On the Town — Originally presented at Barrington Stage Company (on the Boyd-Quinson MainStage) starting June 12, 2013. Produced for Broadway by a consortium of commercial producers led by Howard and Janet Kagan.

On the Twentieth Century — Produced expressly for Broadway by Roundabout Theatre Company.

Produced directly on Broadway: 4 of 11
Regional: 6
United Kingdom: 3
Off-Broadway: 1
Paris: 1.

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