Murdoch was there at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater with an entourage of past and present editors of The Sun, the British tabloid at the heart of the play. Other attendees included Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of Murdoch’s News UK, who was embroiled in the infamous phone hacking scandal; David Dinsmore, another News UK executive; and Tony Gallagher, editor-in-chief of The Sun. Also there was Col Allan, a former editor of The New York Post who was recently brought back to help run the paper.
James Graham’s play focuses on Murdoch’s 1969 takeover of The Sun and its transformation into an influential mass-market tabloid. It had its premiere on Broadway this spring after opening in London in 2017, and has been nominated for six Tony Awards, including best play.
A spokeswoman for the production said Wednesday that a representative from News Corp., Murdoch’s media company that publishes The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal, had reached out to Rupert Goold, the play’s director, to say they were buying tickets to the play and wanted to meet the cast.
After the show Tuesday, Murdoch and the other editors met with many of the performers — including Bertie Carvel, the actor who plays him — onstage. Carvel was unavailable for comment Wednesday, but in a statement he said that he asked Murdoch whether there was anything about the play he would change.
Murdoch, according to the statement, said no but added that there were “one or two points of fact about which he’d quibble.”
“I can’t say it was the most relaxed performance I’ve ever given,” said Carvel, whose performance has earned him a Tony nomination, “but there was definitely electricity in the air.”
Ben Brantley, in his New York Times review, compared the Murdoch character to Mephistopheles.
“As drawn with Dickensian relish by Bertie Carvel, this Murdoch is indeed a man of wealth and taste, with a surprising touch of the prig,” Brantley wrote. “And by artfully tapping into the most primal instincts of those he would have do his bidding, Carvel’s Murdoch is someone to whom it is all but impossible to say no.”
Through a spokesman, Murdoch declined to comment. The play’s spokeswoman said that, when Murdoch drew close to the set pieces onstage, he marveled at how similar the newsroom desks looked to the ones they worked at in the 1960s.
This was Murdoch’s first time at “Ink” on Broadway, though he had seen it in London, the spokeswoman said.
The play may be set in the past, but it foreshadows the present era in which one man controls Fox News Channel, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post. The Sun remains powerful in Britain, where it is thought to have influenced the country’s vote to leave the European Union.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.