Broadway’s ‘The Music Man’ Starring Hugh Jackman Won’t Invite Critics Before Opening Night

In a break with Broadway custom of recent decades, producers of The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster are not inviting critics to pre-opening night previews.

Instead, critics are being invited to the revival’s Feb. 10 opening night at the Winter Garden Theatre, with reviews embargoed until thereafter. (Deadline received the invitation by email today.)

Typically, critics are invited to at least several pre-opening night previews, with reviews embargoed until opening night. Although the trope of aisle-sitters rushing to file reviews after the opening night curtain falls conjures images of All About Eve-era Broadway, the practice is thought to have generally continued at least into the 1970s, with then-New York Times critic Richard Eder occasionally, perhaps apocryphally, credited with having encouraged the switch to critics’ previews to allow reviewers more time to consider and craft their reactions.

Asked by Deadline for the reasoning behind the decision, Music Man spokesperson Rick Miramontez said in a statement, “We feel just terrible for offering dozens of theater critics premium seats to a Broadway show. I am sure they will simply loathe having to tell their grandchildren about the time they were forced to witness Broadway history in the making. Most of all, it pains me personally to imagine the burden of having to turn around a review on such a tight time table — has such a feat ever been attempted before? Well, let it be seen as the greatest vote of confidence by this production in our beloved press corps that we think they just might be up to the challenge!”

The revival was originally set to open in Spring 2020 (with now-disgraced producer Scott Rudin then attached; he’s long since left the production), but was postponed due to the Covid shutdown. Performances finally resumed this past December, although the previews were halted for a week when Jackman and Sutton both came down with breakthrough cases of Covid. Performances resumed Jan. 5.

According to a recent Vanity Fair profile of Jackman, advance ticket sales for The Music Man have reached $50 million.

The Music Man is produced by Barry Diller, David Geffen, and Kate Horton.

The production, directed by Jerry Zaks with choreography by Warren Carlyle, has been one of the Broadway season’s most widely anticipated offerings, in large part due to the A-list talent attached. In addition to Jackman and Foster, the revival of the Meredith Willson Broadway classic also stars Shuler Hensley, Jefferson Mays and Jayne Houdyshell, among others.

 

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