The 2019–2020 Broadway season kicks off with a revival of Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, beginning May 4 at the Broadhurst Theatre ahead of a May 30 official opening.
Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald and Tony and Oscar nominee Michael Shannon star in the two-hander. In the video above, the two join McNally and director Arin Arbus in discussing the process of exploring the show's intimacy, pain, and humor in a new light.
"The play celebrates the need for human connection, and at 80, I think that's a great thing to be celebrating," McNally tells Playbill.
The production opens as a first date-turned-night in bed flows into the early morning after. "They don't feel like there's much that has any meaning in their lives...they're both kind of stuck and alone," Arbus says of the title short-order cook and waiter.
While their dynamic sounds bleak at first, the quartet maintains it's one that contains multitudes and mirrors the true search for companionship. "I don't think people ever stop struggling with the problem of connecting with other people," says Shannon. "It's so rich, the portrait he paints of these people. There's so much to chew on."
McDonald, a McNally veteran after winning Tony Awards for Master Class and Ragtime, says she finds the poetry and music in the writer's work. "He can be so funny and witty, but then he sneaks in and grabs your heart and just squeezes it when you don't even see it coming."