- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 1, 2009

NEW YORK

Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman emerged unscathed, but “A Steady Rain” wasn’t as lucky. The two megastars opened on Broadway Tuesday to mostly positive

notices in Keith Huff’s two-character police drama; many critics were more critical of the play than the performers.

“While both men, particularly Mr. Craig, acquit themselves well, they can’t turn the 90-minute evening into anything more than a chance to see two big-time movie stars emoting up close in a pulpy, plot-heavy entertainment,” the Associated Press review said.

“Big names, little show. ‘A Steady Rain’ … is probably best regarded as a small, wobbly pedestal on which two gods of the screen may stand in order to be worshipped,” the New York Times wrote.

The New York Post described Mr. Huff’s play as a “mawkish, labored, two-hander.”

The New York Daily News was a bit more generous, calling “A Steady Rain” “a stark and modest work that’s all talk and no action. It keeps you at arm’s length.”

Variety was even better. It called the production “riveting theater,” while Newsday said the play was “a dark, moody, small but brutal 90-minute duet … a gorgeously acted set of monologues about moral ambiguity.”

Not that the reviews matter.

“A Steady Rain” has been doing boffo business at the box office since it began previews Sept. 10 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Last week, for example, it grossed $1.16 million, according to its producers.

But then the play also sports the highest regular ticket price for a play (but not a musical) on Broadway. Top weekend tickets go for $130 each, climbing to $140 Thanksgiving weekend and for Dec. 4 through 6, the final weekend of the production’s 12-week limited engagement. Premium seats, the best in the house, range from $226.50 up to an eye-popping $376.50, depending on the performance.

So far, Mr. Jackman and Mr. Craig have bested another marquee name in the box-office department: Jude Law, who’s starring in “Hamlet.” The Shakespeare war horse took in $632,206 during last week’s preview performances, filling about 70 percent of the seats at the Broadhurst Theatre.

“Hamlet” opens Oct. 6.

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