When it was announced the other day that "War Horse" would close at Lincoln Center Theater, on January 6, after 718 performances and 33 previews, I didn't start composing a valedictory blog entry in my head. Although I may feel differently as the date approaches, I didn't respond to the news with unalloyed sadness.
What's to be blue about? At the Beaumont, where the play has been running at LCT, the show has been engaging and moving audiences since March of last year. It has done so almost across the board: "War Horse" is one of the very few times in my theater-going life when even my fussiest friends gave thumbs-up reviews to something.
The production, directed by Marianne Elliot and Tom Morris, has provided nearly 80 actors with steady work, some of them, come January, for two years. And the show has been not only a workplace but a locus of camaraderie: friendships have been forged among the artists, reflected not only in the way they sometimes get together outside the theater (showing up for a colleague's Monday-night gig somewhere, or playing softball as a team in Central Park) but in the way they behave backstage itself.
I'm sure I'll be asking cast and crew to share some favorite memories from these experiences before we reach the end of the year. Maybe their reflections will be laced with more melancholy than mine are at the moment. Meanwhile, I'm feeling grateful.
Brendan Lemon is the American theater critic for the Financial Times and the editor of lemonwade.com.