“Lucky Guy” Legacy

Due to the interesting back story behind Lucky Guy’s writing and production, the play didn’t need a lot of help getting pre-opening publicity. Ephron died one year before the play opened. In a sense, Lucky Guy was a powerful homage to Ephron’s ability to flesh out powerful on-stage personalities and Lucky Guy didn’t disappoint.

According to many sources (such as Bolt and others), the reason it took quite a long time for Ephron to finally get Lucky Guy going was that she was having a tough time looking for the right lead for the play. In 2011, Hanks showed interest in playing McAlary after Ephron made some changes to the character. Finally, in 2012 Hanks was firmly on board. Sadly, Ephron died shortly after. Still, she laid down enough groundwork for this play that it really couldn’t slow down and had a life of its own.

After some cast changes and plot changes were approved by Ephron’s widower and rights successor, Lucky Guy finally opened for previews on March 2013 at Broadway’s Broadhurst Theater. It didn’t take a genius to figure out Lucky Guy will be a hit. The play was grossing $1 million in weekly preview sales. This was relatively rare for a play that wasn’t a musical.

By the time it was ready for its official debut a month later, it had $10 million in advanced ticket sales. The play was originally slated to run from April 2013 to June 2013 but was extended another month to July 2013. All told, Lucky Guy racked up total box office revenues of 22,900,000 plus dollars spread out among 104 performances.

After Lucky Guy

Considering Lucky Guy’s Broadway hit and impact, it would not be a surprise if this play gets produced on the West Coast. In such a situation, it would not be a surprise if Tom Hanks, once again, plays the role of McAlary. His rendition of McAlary in Lucky Guy is definitely a performance for the ages. From hopeful enthusiasm, coiled tension, and conflict, Tom Hanks fully fleshes out McAlary’s personality and gives us a much welcome peek into a side of New York journalism that is well in the rear view mirror of history.