Broadway’s ‘Be More Chill’ Breaks House Record As Overall Box Office Hits $31M

Read on: Deadline.

Be More Chill arrived on Broadway to a big welcome, beginning previews and breaking the seven-performance house record at the Lyceum Theatre with a gross of $738,384, a virtual sell-out with 98% of seats filled for those first seven previews.
The stron…

Broadway Box Office Cools To $26M With NYC’s Chilly Winter Temperatures

Read on: Deadline.

With New York City temperatures hitting single digits, virtually every Broadway show saw at least some decline at the box office last week, and with two fewer productions on the boards than the previous week, total revenue took a 12% slide to $26.5 mil…

Broadway Rocks Steady With $32M; ‘Waitress’ Returns To $1M Club

Read on: Deadline.

Broadway box office found a mid-winter groove as departing shows departed and recent openers moved beyond the comps and press seat period, leaving ticket buyers to buoy the 31-show roster with a $31,699,190 box office take, a tiny 1% slip from the prev…

Bryan Cranston Discusses ‘Network’ Broadway Run, ‘Breaking Bad’ Movie & Joining Wes Anderson’s Pack With ‘Isle Of Dogs’

Read on: Deadline.

An Oscar nominee who leaped into the Wes Anderson ensemble with Isle of Dogs, Bryan Cranston knows how to paint a picture. Before signing on for the director’s second stop-motion outing, Cranston had never met the director; he’d only seen him in photos…

Broadway’s Best Year: 2018 Closes Out At $1.8B; ‘Potter’, ‘Mockingbird’, ‘Chicago’ Among Holiday Week Record-Setters

Read on: Deadline.

With record-breaking newcomers like To Kill A Mockingbird, Network and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child joining long-running stalwarts including Chicago, Wicked and The Lion King in smashing various year-end weekly box office records, Broadway finishe…

Broadway Box Office Rises As Audiences Seek Out Holiday Comfort Food

Read on: Deadline.

Apart from the blazing start for To Kill a Mockingbird, overall Broadway grosses for the week ending December 23 reflected a holiday-season gravitation to familiar crowd-pleasers.
Total box office came in at about $41 million, up 3% from last week and …

Broadway 2018: Movies Took The Stage With Startling Results, And More Are Coming Soon

Read on: Deadline.

Fair or not, when I think of movies that made the screen-to-stage transition, two notorious flops come to mind. The great screenwriter Bud Schulberg himself adapted his 1954 classic Brando morality tale On the Waterfront for Broadway in 1995, but neith…

Broadway Hits $1B Season Total; ‘Springsteen On Broadway’, ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, ‘Network’ Fill Theaters

Read on: Deadline.

Springsteen On Broadway has left the building, departing Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre just as it arrived – sold out and going for top dollar. The final four performances of the solo behemoth added nearly $2 million to Broadway’s ove…

Broadway Jingles $40M In Holiday Season Coin; ‘Cher Show’ A Sell-Out At $1.1M

Read on: Deadline.

Broadway jingled with silver, gold and holiday season tourists last week, ringing up $40M at the box office – a solid 6% jump over the previous week and a whopping 34% better than this week last year. Recent arrivals like To Kill A Mockingbird, N…

‘Network’ Broadway Review: Bryan Cranston Conjures a Burnt-Out Bill O’Reilly

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Bryan Cranston in no way recalls Peter Finch’s Oscar-winning performance as the crazy TV newcaster Howard Beale in the 1976 film “Network.” With true inspiration, Cranston instead conjures up an out-of-work, burnt-out Bill O’Reilly in the new staging of “Network,” which opened Thursday at the Belasco Theatre after a recent run at London’s National Theatre.

Lee Hall (“War Horse”) adapts Paddy Chayefsky’s screenplay, and has been very faithful in his transfer to the stage. What’s different about “Network” on stage, in addition to Cranston’s awesome portrayal, is Ivo van Hove’s very kinetic and immersive direction. He repeats many of the more outlandish flourishes of his recent production of “The Damned” at the Park Avenue Armory, but where the vast environs of that performing space dissipated the impact, the intimate stage at the Belasco allows van Hove to create a dense, overloaded environment of images that force a battle between the live actors and the electronically projected miasma engulfing them.

Say what you want about the power of live performance, audiences will inevitably gravitate to the big jumbotron image over the real and tiny thing every time. Van Hove’s direction, Jan Versweyveld’s lighting and sets, and Tal Yarden’s videos not only acknowledge that audience preference, they turn it into an addiction and make it central to what this “Network” is all about.

Also Read: ‘The Prom’ Broadway Review: Indiana’s Back on the LGBT Chopping Block

Indeed, the first hour of “Network” is absolutely mesmerizing. The network execs, producers, writers and technicians who put on Howard Beale’s nightly newscast are so bombarded with visual garbage that they’re too numb to notice that their star newscaster has just announced his own suicide on national TV.

We can identify in a way that we never could in a movie theater. Behind Cranston and his news desk, fellow theatergoers are having drinks on one side of the stage while most of the other actors are enclosed in a glass booth, separated from the real-life drama in front of them as one big screen projects commercials, old movies, sitcoms and competing newscasts.

These images are replicated elsewhere on smaller screens around the stage and the theater. Cranston is the star, but he’s only part of the show, and often times our attention is being diverted. Electronic media has a way of doing that — distracting us from what’s real, as well as what’s important.

Also Read: ‘The New One’ Broadway Review: Mike Birbiglia Now Sleepwalks With a Stroller

That’s the first and wonderful half of “Network.” But as with the movie, “Network” on stage becomes overwhelmed by Chayefsky’s pontificating about the evils of modern society — and Hall isn’t a very judicious editor. The romantic affair between the new TV producer Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway in the movie) and Beale’s old colleague Max Schumacher (William Holden in the movie) isn’t dramatically motivated.

Perhaps they’d screw a couple of times, but after Schumacher has been fired for wanting to protect his friend Beale from public humiliation, Christensen has no reason to continue their romance. She’s the epitome of commercial crassness; everything is transactional for her, and Schumacher has outlived his usefulness. The only reason their relationship exists is to spice up an already flagging script.

On stage, van Hove attempts to distract us by recording live on the sidewalk in front of the Belasco Theatre the meet-cute reconciliation of Diana (Tatiana Maslany, being enigmatic) and Max (Tony Goldwyn, being gracious). On one level, it’s interesting. The public is so conditioned to seeing reality-TV crews on the streets of Manhattan that passersby on West 44th Street don’t even give Maslany and Goldwyn a second glance as the two actors perform their roles in front of a handheld camera.

Also Read: ‘King Kong’ Broadway Review: Giant Puppet Upstages the Mere Humans

Maslany and Goldwyn are closer in age than Dunaway and Holden were in the film. Still, Max’s speech about Diana being part of the Bugs Bunny generation is not only terribly superior and ageist, it’s also just wrong: Bugs Bunny was a much bigger icon for Holden than anyone in Dunaway’s generation. And isn’t it time we put to rest the myth that Edward R. Murrow, who brought us “Person to Person,” held reign over a vast repository of great journalism, as if in-depth exposes could ever be produced within the limited short-segment dictates of 1950s television?

Van Hove’s environment of TV imagery dissipates as Chavefsky’s preaching intensifies. At one point, Cranston leaves the stage to sit on the armrest between two theatergoers in the audience. We’ve just been told that TV distracts us. Now van hove and Cranston show us how the theater can also play tricks. Who cares what Cranston’s character is saying as we watch, on the DumboTron screen, the embarrassed and/or amazed looks of the theatergoers sitting around the star?

On its release in 1976, “Network” was hailed as a prescient view of news as entertainment. That prescience has changed. Now the shock of “Network” is how much “mad as hell” masquerades as political activism.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Moulin Rouge!’ Stage Production Headed to Broadway July 2019

‘The Prom’ Broadway Review: Indiana’s Back on the LGBT Chopping Block

‘The New One’ Broadway Review: Mike Birbiglia Now Sleepwalks With a Stroller

‘King Kong’ Broadway Review: Giant Puppet Upstages the Mere Humans

Broadway Box Office Settles After Thanksgiving Feast; ‘Network’, ‘Mockingbird’ Add To $38M Total

Read on: Deadline.

Broadway box office fell back to earth last week following the previous week’s best-Thanksgiving-ever skyrocket numbers. With two additional shows on board raising the number of productions to 38, total attendance held virtually the same at 299,4…

Broadway’s Best-Ever Thanksgiving: A $43M Feast, A ‘Harry Potter’ Record & A ’60 Minutes’ Boon To ‘Mockingbird’

Read on: Deadline.

Broadway had its best Thanksgiving week in recorded history, grossing $43M as house records and other markers were smashed like so many sweet potatoes. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child even set a new high for weekly ticket sales (for a play) with a bi…

‘Network’, ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ Filling Seats On Broadway

Read on: Deadline.

Hollywood’s greatest satire of television is filling seats on Broadway: Network, directed by Ivo van Hove and starring Bryan Cranston, neared the million-dollar box office turf last week, grossing $994,920 for seven preview performances.
The powe…

‘Network’ Previews, ‘King Kong’ Opens As Broadway Scores $37M

Read on: Deadline.

Bryan Cranston arrived on Broadway to two full houses last week, as the much-anticipated Network played a couple previews at the Belasco Theater and contributed $293,220 to Broadway’s $37,230,401 total for Week 24 (ending Nov. 11).
Overall box of…