Al Pacino to Do Los Angeles Workshop of Kessler's Orphans

News   Al Pacino to Do Los Angeles Workshop of Kessler's Orphans Al Pacino will head the cast of a new Los Angeles workshop of Lyle Kessler's taut three-hander Orphans.
Al Pacino
Al Pacino Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Emanual Azenberg, Frederick Zollo, Jeffrey Sine and Ira Pittelman will produce the July-August enterprise, which will take place in a small theatre to be named at a later date. Ulu Grosbard will direct. Pacino will play Harold, a shady businessman who is kidnapped by Treat and Phillip, two brothers—one a predatory and domineering thief, the other an innocent man-child—who have raised themselves without the benefit of parents. After a short time, however, the wily Harold turns the tables and begins to dictate the course of the brothers' lives.

The roles of the two brothers are yet to be cast.

Pacino is known for workshopping potential stage projects for months, sometimes years before he decides to make them public and commercial. He most famously did this with Wilde's Salome, which eventually arrived on Broadway in 2002 under the title Salome: The Reading.

Orphans premiered in 1983 at Los Angeles' Matrix Theatre and won the Drama-Logue Award there. It's reputation was truly made, however, through a subsequent production at the then-young Steppenwolf Theatre Company. John Mahoney starred as Harold, with Terry Kinney and Kevin Anderson as Treat and Phillip in an explosive production directed by Gary Sinise. The show subsequently travelled to New York and London, where it helped establish Steppenwolf's signature "rock and roll" brand of theatre, as well as Kessler's status as a playwright.

The drama was made into a 1987 film starring Anderson, Albert Finney and Matthew Modine.

Despite its standing as a play, Orphans has yet to play Broadway. Zollo told Playbill.com that the team plans to take the project one step at a time.