The Roundabout Theatre's revival of The Lion in Winter will roar on to Broadway with an official opening on March 11. The production will open on time after canceling three previews, having begun performances on the Feb. 20 matinee rather than the originally-scheduled Feb. 17. Lion in Winter plays at the nonprofit troupe's Stage Right Mainstage on Broadway and has the honor of being the company's last production in that space.
Laurence Fishburne and Stockard Channing star in James Goldman's drama about England's politics -- and family politics -- during the reign of Henry II. Fishburne plays the King, Channing is Eleanor of Aquitaine, Michael Mayer directs.
Joining Fishburne and Channing are Keith Nobbs (John), Chuma Hunter Gault (Richard Lionheart), Roger Howarth (Philip), Neal Huff (Geoffrey), and Emily Bergl (Alais), with Jeff Croteau, Dan Maceyak and Benjamin Nurick.
The production will have a limited run ending on May 30, unless a commercial transfer develops. The Roundabout lost its lease at the Criterion Center in Times Square because the landlord chose to exercise a two-year eviction clause in order to take advantage of the booming real estate climate.
The Lion in Winter first opened on March 3, 1966 at the Ambassador Theatre, and closed May 21. It starred Robert Preston as Henry II and Rosemary Harris as his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine. It was later made into a movie starring Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn.
Lion was announced for last season, but star Fishburne had scheduling problems. The eclectic Mayer (Side Man, A View From The Bridge, Stupid Kids, Triumph of Love and You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown) is directing the romantic drama about Henry II's love/hate relationship with Eleanor of Aquitaine in a time of maneuverings concerning throne-ascension.
Fishburne last appeared on the New York stage in his own play, Riff Raff, which played at the Circle in the Square Downtown in fall 1995. It was one of the last productions of the now-defunct, Off-Broadway company, Circle Rep. Since then, Fishburne has appeared in a variety of movies, including a film adaptation of Othello. Fishburne might be best known for playing Ike Turner in the bio-pic, "What's Love Got to Do With It?"
Channing is a Broadway veteran, with Six Degrees of Separation, Four Baboons Adoring the Sun and the latest revival of Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes on her resume. She also appeared in Lincoln Center's Hapgood and reached fame playing Rizzo in the film of "Grease."
Nobbs is known for Off-Broadway's Stupid Kids.
Current Roundabout productions include Cabaret (at Studio 54), The Mineola Twins (at the Laura Pels) Ashes to Ashes (at the Gramercy Theatre) and the Broadway transfer of Side Man (at the John Golden Theatre).
For tickets and information on Roundabout shows call (212) 719-1300. Seven play subscriptions run $231-$288, with discounted series for teachers and for kids ages 13-18.