A Horse Lost in the Field: War Horse Will Move from Lincoln Center

It seems as though there is a wild animal roaming through the streets of Broadway looking for a new home. There is a buzz about Broadway as rumors circulate of a potential production that could sweep in to take the home of a Tony Award winner. Today, Luner on Theatre is bringing you the confirmation War Horse will leave Lincoln Center to move into a new Broadway house.

War Horse is a play based off the book of the same title by Michael Morpurgo. The stage version was adapted from the book by Nick Stafford and made its stage debut back in 2007 in South Bank, London. Joey, the horse of Albert Narracott, is bought and sent to France during World War 1 and endures death, disease and fate as he finds himself in no mans lands alone after serving for both sides during the battle. Albert refuses to give up hope or forget about Joey and goes on an epic adventure to bring him home where he belongs.

Since its stage debut in 2007, War Horse transferred to the West End in 2009 to meet much success. A Broadway production was launched in 2011 which went on to win 5 Tony Awards including the Tony Award for Best Play. Toronto has just opened a production within the past 4 months that involves the same creative team of both the West End and Broadway production. A national tour is launching and will begin in Los Angeles in June 2012.

War Horse has received much praise and success at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre. So why exactly is the production planning to find another stable?

Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre will soon be home to a upcoming  revival of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s The King and I. At this time, there is only currently one name attached to the production which is Kelli O’Hara. The three time Tony Award nominee is apparently attached to the show set to play the role of Anna. No other further details regarding casting, dates or a creative team have been announced at this time.

However, with Lincoln Center preparing for their next blockbuster piece, War Horse has been left to run free looking for a new Broadway stable to house even if it is currently occupied. Reports surfaced that national executive producers, lead by Nick Starr are quietly searching Broadway for their new home including theatres currently holding productions with no closing date. Starr reportedly checked out The Winter Garden Theatre, currently home to Mamma Mia in its 11th year on Broadway, and left embarrassed after head producer Judy Craymer simply laughed at the idea of her show going anywhere anytime soon. So as of right now, this horse is declaring war with no home to go to.

There are however a variety of choices for War Horse to play in a when it comes to normal Broadway house. The St. James Theatre may soon be vacant with much less anticipation then originally expected for the new musical, Leap of Faith now playing on Broadway. A Tony Award will save the show its home but at this point in time, that is just not guaranteed. The Richard Rogers Theatre, currently home to Porgy and Bess, will be vacant come September unless the production manages to extend again with its two big stars, Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis. The Imperial Theatre is also a fantastic option for War Horse if the new Gershwin musical, Nice Work If You Can Get It closes up shop soon and falls into the category of just another Gershwin musical remake. What War Horse needs it a theatre that has large wing space and enough seats for them to sell to survive on Broadway. The production is no longer currently selling out at the Vivian Beaumont but it is still doing well. A normal sized Broadway theatre is the stable this horse needs to find.

Ironically enough, The Imperial Theatre is probably the best choice for War Horse for several reasons. It would be playing to a well known theatre in the theatre district. The Imperial provides plenty of wing space which War Horse requires. Also, the house is not too large and should be able to do fine with ticket sales. Also ironic with all this, if War Horse was to move here to make way for the The King and I. The King and I star Kelli O’Hara is currently starring in Nice Work If You Can  Get It at The Imperial Theatre which is not currently being listed as a limited engagement. Hmm.

However, War Horse faces another major issue upon moving from Lincoln Center. The production which is known for its incredible puppetry work as well as design aspects overall is truly an artistic event. Its home at Lincoln Center has placed it at the top of the arts as a spectacular event to be seen by the finest who appreciate and support the arts. War Horse moving itself into a normal Broadway house simply places it among crowd favorites such as Sister Act, Memphis and Priscilla as just another Broadway show. The theatre building a show finds its home in can, in the end, make or break the productions life on Broadway. I think War Horse will overall not do nearly as well in a normal Broadway House as it has been doing at Lincoln Center.

However, the National Theatre has been quoted as saying they would like to be more known in New York City and are planning to extend from within their Lincoln Center circle that already exists. This may just be the right time for War Horse to wander the fields and find something new. Only time will tell.

So which Broadway show is about to feel the wrath of the War Horse stampede? Only time will tell as National Theatre executives work to find a new home for their Tony Award winning production. Luner on Theatre will be sure to keep you up to date on all the latest details regarding War Horse’s move from Lincoln Center to a new Broadway home. For more information, check out War Horse’s Official Broadway Website or their Official Facebook Page. And of course, stay tuned to Luner on Theatre as we bring you all the theatre news you don’t only need but want to know and more!

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