Broadway Shuns Porn as ‘The Performers’ Closes Days After Opening

Broadway Shuns Porn as ‘The Performers’ Closes Days After Opening

After opening to mostly harsh reviews, “The Performers,” a Broadway play based in the Adult Film Industry will close on Sunday, November 18, after only seven regular performances.

The play, which stars Henry Winkler, Alicia Silverstone and Cheyenne Jackson, played 23 previews at the Longacre Theatre before it’s premiere. Though the New York Times reports the play had been building good word-of-mouth reviews during previews, producers said in a statement that the momentum was building “only to be halted by the insurmountable after effects of Hurricane Sandy.” Two of the production’s scheduled previews were cancelled after the storm came through New York City.

“The Performers” is the debut play of 29-year-old playwright David West Read, and tells the story of a high school friends that are reunited at the Adult Film Awards in Las Vegas. Ari Graynor, Daniel Breaker and Jenni Barber also appear in the play.

The production is produced by Evan Cabnet, who also produced Read’s previous play, the Off Broadway production “The Dream of the Burning Boy.” “The Performers” is produced by Robyn Goodman, Amanda Lipitz and Scott R. Delman.

In his review for the New York Times, critic Ben Brantley wrote that the play “feels like a throwback to the more discreetly risqué entertainments of 40 and 50 years ago.” He also wrote that the play “reaches its heights, which are mostly foothills, when it follows the internal logic of porn-speak to absurdist extremes.”

Scott Brown, writing in Vulture, concluded that Broadway was not the place for the play.

“Not bad,” he wrote. “But in sum, it’s merely good TV writing, without disciplined TV structure. There’s not enough story even to sustain ‘The Performers’ slender 90 minutes, and West bends his characters into all sorts of pretzels to fulfill basic comic payoffs.”

Offering a different view, Entertainment Weekly praised the play’s “laugh-a-minute” script.