Macaulay Culkin Sets Sights on West End Credibility in Nelson's Melville

News   Macaulay Culkin Sets Sights on West End Credibility in Nelson's Melville Macaulay Culkin may be the next somewhat unlikely Hollywood name to tread the boards in the West End. The former child star of the "Home Alone" films has reportedly auditioned for and secured the lead in Richard Nelson's play Madame Melville, produced by Gregory Mosher, Adam Kenwright and Andrew Fell, which is expected to open in the West End in October.
Macaulay Culkin.
Macaulay Culkin. (Photo by Photo by Joan Marcus)

Macaulay Culkin may be the next somewhat unlikely Hollywood name to tread the boards in the West End. The former child star of the "Home Alone" films has reportedly auditioned for and secured the lead in Richard Nelson's play Madame Melville, produced by Gregory Mosher, Adam Kenwright and Andrew Fell, which is expected to open in the West End in October.

Culkin, now 19, became a phenomenon in the early 1990s with starring roles in films including "Home Alone," "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York," "My Girl," "The Good Son" and "Richie Rich." But, as with many child stars, Culkin had trouble getting parts as he got older. Personal and professional problems, particularly with his divorced parents who waged a fierce custody battle for control over him and his finances, didn't help. Culkin's last film role was in 1994's "Getting Even with Dad."

According to an article in The Express newspaper, Madame Melville requires Culkin to play a "Graduate"-style young man, seduced by an older woman, in this case a thirty-something French teacher, the Madame Melville of the title. Leading French actresses, including Irene Jacob, star of "Three Colours Red" and "The Double Life of Veronique," are being targeted to co-star.

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Richard Nelson told reporters, backstage at the 2000 Tonys last June, that Madame Melville would reach Broadway this fall, with Nelson himself directed. The Express report appears to mark a shift from a New York to a London premiere. A spokesman for the show said there were no plans for a Gotham run at present. Nelson won a Tony for his book to James Joyce's The Dead, which he co-wrote and directed and which played Broadway this season. The Dead, a musical adaptation of James Joyce's short story, originated at Off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons last fall. It quickly sold out and transferred to Broadway, but closed in April. It failed to win any other Tony Awards, including that for best musical, but one of its stars, Blair Brown, won for her performance in Copenhagen.

Nelson's other plays include New England, Some Americans Abroad and Two Shakespearean Actors.

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Macaulay's brother, Kieran Culkin, made his Off-Broadway debut this past spring at Playwrights Horizons in James Lapine's The Moment When.

-- By Terri Paddock
What's On Stage, London
and Robert Simonson