The existential classic in which clowns and their companions wait on a barren landscape (the setting is "a country road") will be directed by Tony winner Anthony Page at Studio 54, one of Roundabout's two Broadway homes.
Irwin (Fool Moon, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) will play Vladimir, and Lane (The Producers, Butley, Guys and Dolls) will play Estragon.
Waiting for Godot will begin previews April 10, 2009, and open officially April 30, 2009, at Studio 54, 254 West 54th Street. This will be a limited engagement. (9 to 5, the new musical based on the film of the same name, has also announced an April 30, 2009, opening date at Broadway's Marquis Theatre. That marks the final night of the 2008-09 Broadway season, and the cutoff date for the 2009 Tony Awards.)
Additional casting and a design team for the 2009 Godot production will be announced.
Irwin played Lucky in the 1988 Lincoln Center Theater revival of the play, which featured Robin Williams as Estragon and Steve Martin as Vladimir. According to Roundabout, "Waiting for Godot remains Samuel Beckett's most magical and beautiful allegory. The story revolves around two seemingly homeless men waiting for someone — or something — named Godot. Vladimir (Bill Irwin) and Estragon (Nathan Lane) wait near a tree on a barren stretch of road, inhabiting a drama spun from their own consciousness. The result is a comical wordplay of poetry, dreamscapes and nonsense, which has been interpreted as a somber summation of mankind's inexhaustible search for meaning."
Page most recently directed Bill Irwin in his Tony-winning performance of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and returns to Roundabout having directed Inadmissible Evidence in 1981 and The Caretaker in 1982. He won his Tony Award for direction for A Doll's House (1997) starring Janet McTeer.
Irwin returns to Roundabout Theatre Company for the first time since directing and starring in his adaptation of Scapin in 1997 and directing George Feydeau's A Flea in Her Ear in 1998, both at the Laura Pels Theatre. Two-time Tony winner Lane returns to Roundabout following the production of The Man Who Came to Dinner (2000) at the American Airlines Theatre. Lane won Tony Awards for his work in The Producers (Best Actor in a Musical) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Best Actor in a Musical).
Waiting for Godot was Beckett's first professionally produced play. It premiered in Paris in 1953 and premiered on Broadway in 1956 at the John Golden Theatre. Bert Lahr starred. "Beckett's language pioneered an expressionistic minimalism that captured the existentialism of post-World War II Europe," according to Roundabout notes.
Beckett was born in 1906 near Dublin. He died in 1989. In 1927 he graduated from Trinity College where he eventually taught. His early work includes the long poem "Whoroscope" and essay "Proust" followed by short stories collected in "More Pricks Than Kicks," and "Echo's Bones," a collection of verse. During World War II, he played an active part in the French Resistance. Following the war, he wrote a trilogy of novels, "Malloy," "Malone Dies" and "The Unnamable." His landmark play, Waiting for Godot, was completed in 1950 and premiered in Paris in 1953. He went on to write many others, including Endgame and Happy Days. His short plays include Not I, Footfalls, Ghost Trio, Rockaby, Catastrophe and What Where. In 1969 Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Tickets will be available in winter 2009, by phone at (212) 719-1300, online at www.roundabouttheatre.org or at the Studio 54 theatre box office (254 West 54th Street). Waiting for Godot will play Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8 PM with Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 PM.
A new Roundabout revival of Pal Joey begins Nov. 14 at Studio 54. A Roundabout revival of A Man for All Seasons starring Frank Langella is currently playing at Broadway's American Airlines Theatre. Roundabout's current Off-Broadway offerings are Streamers (starting Oct. 17) and The Language of Trees.
Roundabout's popular production of The 39 Steps transferred to the Cort Theatre April 29.