Bruce Willis Will Make Broadway Debut in Misery, Based on Stephen King Novel

News   Bruce Willis Will Make Broadway Debut in Misery, Based on Stephen King Novel Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Bruce Willis and Obie Award winner Elizabeth Marvel will star in Misery, a new play written by Academy Award winner (and The Season author) William Goldman, based on the acclaimed novel by Stephen King, Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures announced March 4.

Directed By Will Frears, the limited engagement will arrive on Broadway in fall 2015. A Broadway home and timeline will be announced at a later date.

Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis

Here's how it's billed: "Successful romance novelist Paul Sheldon (Willis) is rescued from a car crash by his 'Number One Fan,' Annie Wilkes (Marvel), and wakes up captive in her secluded home. While Paul is convalescing, Annie reads the manuscript to his newest novel and becomes enraged when she discovers the author has killed off her favorite character, Misery Chastain. Annie forces Paul to write a new 'Misery' novel, and he quickly realizes Annie has no intention of letting him go anywhere. The irate Annie has Paul writing as if his life depends on it, and if he does not make her deadline, it will."

Goldman's ("The Princess Bride") film adaptation of "Misery," based on King's celebrated novel, was directed by Rob Reiner and released in 1990, starring James Caan and Kathy Bates (who won an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for her performance as Annie Wilkes).

Goldman has had a distinguished career in Hollywood. His other screenplays include "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969) and "All the President's Men," both of which won Oscars.

  However, Goldman, 83, is perhaps best known around Broadway for his scathing expose, "The Season," a book that captured the Broadway theatre industry at its nadir in the 1967-68 season. Misery will be Goldman's first return to writing for Broadway since the 65-performance failure of his 1962 musical A Family Affair, co-written with his brother James Goldman and composer John Kander, which ran just 65 performances despite a cast of notables, Larry Kert, Rita Gardner, Eileen Heckart, Morris Carnovsky and Shelley Berman.

Goldman made his Broadway debut in 1961 with Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole, which ran just two months with a cast that included Darren McGavin, John McMartin and Peter Fonda.

Misery will have set design by David Korins (Motown), lighting design by David Weiner (The Normal Heart) and sound design by Tony Award winner Darron West (Peter and the Starcatcher).

Misery will be produced by Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures (Mark Kaufman), Castle Rock Entertainment (Martin Shafer, Liz Glotzer) and Raymond Wu.

"Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures has a mission to explore new ways to tell our stories on stage while collaborating with the most creative artists working in theatre today," said producer Kaufman in a statement. "Misery is an outstanding psychological thriller and we have been working closely with William Goldman and Will Frears to develop this play for Broadway. Bruce Willis, who is making his Broadway debut, and Elizabeth Marvel are two great actors who are absolutely perfect to play these characters. I expect this production will be a suspenseful and exciting night of theatre on Broadway."

The play made its world premiere at Bucks County Playhouse in the fall of 2012. Check out Playbill.com's story on that production.

This project is not Goldman's first flirtation with the stage since The Season, however. For several years he worked with composer Adam Guettel on a musical version of The Princess Bride until they parted ways. Disney picked up the option for a stage version and said, as late as fall 2014, that it remains attached to the project.

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