Apr. 22, the day before The Judas Kiss starts previews on Broadway will be a busy one for star Liam Neeson: he's appearing on two national television broadcasts that morning.
First, you can catch him on NBC's "Today Show," sometime between 7-9 AM (EST); then he'll be a guest on ABC's "Rosie O'Donnell Show," (10-11 AM, EST).
David Hare's newest play, The Judas Kiss, which stars Neeson as Oscar Wilde, was rushed into production by London's Almeida Theatre Company and won many positive reviews (and notoriety for considerable nudity) there just weeks ago.
The production is already uppacking its bags in New York: Broadway previews at the Broadhurst Theatre begin April 23. The Judas Kiss, about Wilde's doomed relationship with his beloved Lord Alfred Douglas, will open April 29 -- the deadline day for 1998 Tony eligibility.
The play was bumped up to a Mar. 12 opening in London at the West End Playhouse Theatre (with a closing date of April 18) so it can make the transfer to Broadway at the end of April. The show is scheduled to play a limited engagement of 110 performances at the Broadhurst. In addition to film star Neeson, who appeared on Broadway in 1993 in Anna Christie with his now-wife Natasha Richardson, The Judas Kiss also features Tom Hollander as Bosie; other cast members include Peter Capaldi, Alex Walkinshaw, Richard Clarke and Daniel Serafini-Sauli. (Three American cast members appeared in the London mounting; three London actors will come to Broadway.) The director is Richard Eyre.
Producers for the NY production are Robert Fox, Roger Berlind, Joan Cullman, Scott Rudin and the Shubert Organization (the team that produced last year's critically acclaimed British import Skylight, also written by Hare).
Designing The Judas Kiss are Bob Crowley (set & costumes), Mark Henderson (lighting) and John A. Leonard (sound), with George Fenton providing musical underscoring.
It's a boom time for Oscar Wilde, theatrically speaking -- a new play about the writer, Gross Indecency, is currently a hit Off-Broadway and in San Francisco (and begins performances in Feb. at the Mark Taper Forum in LA); and the Peter Hall production of Wilde's great comedy about love and forgiveness, An Ideal Husband, has returned to the West End after a successful Broadway run and is still drawing crowds and acclaim from returning critics some six years after it first opened.
Judas Kiss author David Hare is also having a banner season: His play Amy's View, starring Judi Dench, transferred to the West End in January following sold-out performances at the National Theatre; and his adaptation of Chekhov's Ivanov, which was seen at the Almeida, recently wound up an acclaimed run on Broadway starring Kevin Kline.
For tickets to The Judas Kiss at the Broadhurst Theatre, 235 West 44th St., call (212) 239-6200. The theatre's street box office opened March 30.