The show is a surprise late entry in the 2003-04 Broadway season. It recently premiered at Florida State University at Tallahassee. Opening is May 5. Michael Parva and Chase Mishkin will produce. The theatre will be the Longacre. As at FSU, Ed Sherin will direct.
The work follows the story of two scientists who are battling for control over the life of an aging gorilla, and debates whether the animal should be allowed to grow old peacefully or be tested in hopes of finding a cure for a deadly disease. The ape communicates through American Sign Language.
The show's profile was heightened considerably by a feature article written by Bruce Weber that appeared in the New York Times.
Medoff is the author of 1980's Children of a Lesser God, his last play on Broadway.
Naughton won his Tonys for City of Angels and Chicago. He recently returned to the latter for a short stint as lawyer Billy Flynn. His other credits include Y2K and Four Baboons Adoring the Sun. As a director, he has piloted Broadway revivals of Our Town and The Price.
De Shields stopped the show each night in The Full Monty with his roof-raising song, "Big Black Man." He was nominated for a Tony Award for his work. More recently, he starred in the new revival of poet Derek Walcott's 1967 play Dream on Monkey Mountain at Off-Broadway Classical Theatre of Harlem—a rare non-musical role for the actor. His previous nomination was for 1997's Play On!. Other Broadway credits include The Wiz, Ain't Misbehavin' and 1984's André De Shields' Haarlem Nocturne, a revue which he conceived, wrote (with co-authors Murray Horwitz and musical director Marc Shaiman), directed, composed, choreographed and performed. He also appeared at the Goodman in Waiting for Godot.