Between the out-of-town opening in Philadelphia, on Jan. 21, 1963, and the Broadway opening, the original director was replaced, along with three cast members. Delbert Mann was the original director. He was replaced by Peter Glenville. Taina Elg was originally cast as Natalia Mayovskaya. She was replaced by Louise Troy. John Emery was originally cast as Gorotchenko. He was replaced by Alexander Scourby. C. K. Alexander was originally cast as M. Chauffourier-Dubleff. He was replaced by Don McHenry.
Between Philadelphia and Broadway, the production played in Boston.
In an interview in the book Sing Out, Louise! Elg said that she and Emery were replaced during the Philadelphia run, but she and Emery are listed in playbills early in the Boston run, and they were in the cast lists for Boston reviews, so the replacements would seem to have occurred during the Boston run. Playbills from later in the Boston list Troy and Scourby. Even the Boston playbills we have found that list Troy and Scourby still list Mann as director. This was probably because the contractual terms were still being worked out. In all likelihood, Mann had been effectively replaced by early in the Boston run, at the latest.
It may be that C. K. Alexander was not replaced till shortly before the Broadway opening.
Star Vivien Leigh won excellent reviews for her performance, along with a Tony award (at a time when the Tonys did not have much effect on box office), but she was going through a difficult time mentally and perhaps physically as well. According to published interviews with cast members, she took a dislike to her co-star, Jean-Pierre Aumont, and she tried to get him replaced. Still, she managed to play the role on Broadway for more than six months before any serious problems occurred.
Then, at the matinee on Saturday, September 28, 1963, just before the production was to shut down for a week before re-opening at another theatre, she seemed to have some kind of breakdown during the performance. She managed to complete it, but she was replaced for the evening performance by her standby, Joan Copeland (who had subbed for her for seven performances when she'd had a virus in August and perhaps on some other occasions).
By September 30, Leigh was in a nursing home in London. Her agent told the press that she would return to New York and to the show when it re-opened the following week, but she did not. Joan Copeland subbed from October 7 through October 19, until Eva Gabor was ready to take over. Business, however, was not good with Gabor. The production had received mixed reviews, with only Leigh being praised by almost all the critics, and the public was not interested in the show without Leigh. The truth is that the public was not all that interested in the show even with Leigh. It had a good advance sale, much of it due to theatre parties. It never played a sold-out week on Broadway, although it probably would have if it had not opened at the Broadway, at the time the biggest theatre on Broadway. After around five weeks, grosses were generally around the break-even point.
It closed on November 9, reportedly having lost its full investment of $450,000. The cost of moving theatres twice was also a factor in the loss of the entire investment, even though moving theatres was relatively inexpensive at the time. With its elaborate physical production, however, the cost of moving Tovarich was probably quite for the time.
Still, had it ever done especially well at the box office for an extended period, it probably would have returned to the backers some portion of their investment.