The production will be graded by critics on April 23, when it officially opens. Nicholas Hytner directs.
Bennett, the author of Talking Heads and The Lady in the Van, has set his play in a boys school in Sheffield in the 1980s, where the graduating class, at the insistence of an ambitious headmaster, are preparing to take the entrance exams for Oxford and Cambridge. To aid their efforts, the headmaster has hired Irwin, a young instructor who teaches the kids how to attract the attention of college Dons with unorthodox answers and serpentine reasoning. In doing so, Irwin comes in conflict with Hector, an older, eccentric, motorcycle-riding educator who believes his job is not to help the students get good marks, but to fill their minds with a world of thought, art and history.
Bennett states in an introduction to the published play that certain aspects of the play and its characters mirror his own experiences as a sixth-former. (Bennett attended Oxford.)
The cast features Samuel Anderson (Crowther), Samuel Barnett (Posner), Dominic Cooper (Dakin), James Corden (Timms), Sacha Dhawan (Akthar), Andrew Knott (Lockwood), Jamie Parker (Scripps) and Russell Tovey (Rudge). The teachers will be played by Frances de la Tour (Mrs. Lintott), Richard Griffiths (Hector), Clive Merrison (Headmaster) and Stephen Campbell Moore (Irwin). Other roles will be played by Joseph Attenborough (company), Tom Attwood (company/music director), Rudi Dharmalingam (company), Colin Haigh (TV Director) and Pamela Merrick (Make-Up Lady).
The producers are Bob Boyett and Bill Haber, who were also behind the London-to-Broadway transfers of Jumpers, Democracy and The Pillowman. The Broadway stop is part of a tour takes the show to Australia and two cities in the United Kingdom, Variety reported earlier. The play premiered in London in May 2004 at the Royal National Theatre's Lyttleton Theatre.
Alan Bennett's plays include Talking Heads and The Lady in the Van.
For more information visit www.ntny.org.