NEW YORK — Woody Harrel-son’s play Bullet for Adolf is extending its off-Broadway run by more than a month, and the actor-turned-playwright is hopeful it will continue building an audience.
“Nobody does theater for the money. On the other hand, an eventual profit would be lovely,” Harrelson told The Associated Press in an e-mail exchange. “Word-of-mouth accounts for 90 percent of people at the show and the audience is building every week, so I’m optimistic.”
The comedy was co-written by Harrelson and old friend Frankie Hyman and has a semi-autobiographical plot that sprang from events and people the pair encountered while working construction jobs in 1983 in Houston.
The eight-person play, also directed by Harrelson, opened in August at the New World Stages complex on 50th Street and has been losing money. It was originally scheduled to play its final performance on Sept. 9, but the production will now be gambling that more time will create a bigger response. Producers said it will now play through Oct. 21.
Bullet for Adolf is peppered with one-liners, vulgar insults and politically incorrect jokes about racism, ethnicity, pedophilia, the Holocaust and even different cultures’ uses of placenta.
The play got mixed reviews off-Broadway, with The New York Times calling the play “muddled” and loud, while The Associated Press said it is “an engaging, high-energy comedy that will surely entertain more than it offends.”
The former Cheers star waved away the criticism, seeing positive signs: “Our goal in writing this play was to make people laugh. As long as people keep laughing we’re going to keep it going.”
“I think Frankie and I were pretty clear that this play wouldn’t be for everyone. The play goes to some pretty wild places and has some very strong language and edgy jokes. We were 21 and on our own for the first time and that’s how we were that summer of 1983. This play is not for the humorless.”
Bullet for Adolf, which takes its name from the appearance of a gun once used in an attempt to kill Adolf Hitler, received its world premiere last spring at the Hart House Theatre in Toronto.
Harrelson said he’d like to take the play to London, but there are no plans for that yet. He and Hyman are focused on building an audience in New York.