Des McAnuff, who helmed a workshop run of the play in California, returns to direct the New York production of Farnsworth, which concerns the invention of television. Previews begin Oct. 15 at the Music Box Theatre; opening night is scheduled for Nov. 14.
Simpson will be joined onstage by fellow cast members from the La Jolla Playhouse run, including Nadia Bowers, Kyle Fabel, Maurice Godin, Bruce McKenzie, Spencer Moses, Jim Ortlieb, Michael Pemberton, Katharine Powell, James Sutorius, Alexandra Wilson and the aforementioned Steve Rosen.
Newcomers to the cast, like Azaria, are Adam Grupper, Christian McCarthy Johansen, Aaron Krohn, Kate MacCluggage, Malcolm Morano, Michael Mulheren, Javier Picayo, Margot White and William Youmans.
The Farnsworth Invention concerns the battle for the patent for the invention of the television set. The race pitted a young genius, Philo T. Farnsworth, who came up with the idea as a high school student, against David Sarnoff, the head of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA).
The design team includes Klara Zieglerova (scenic), David C. Woolard (costume), Howell Binkley (lighting) and Walter Trarbach (sound design). Composer Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party) provides original music, and Lisa Shriver handles movement and protocol. The play will be produced on Broadway by Dodger Properties with Steven Spielberg, Dan Cap Productions, Fred Zollo, Latitude Link and the Pelican Group.
The Farnsworth Invention played in a Page to Stage workshop production at the La Jolla Playhouse in February.
Azaria earned a Tony nomination for his work in Spamalot. He also appeared on the London stage in Sexual Perversity in Chicago. The actor — who provides his voice to "The Simpsons" — is perhaps best known for his film work in such films as "Along Came Polly," "Shattered Glass," "America's Sweethearts," "Cradle Will Rock," "Mystery Men," "The Birdcage" and "Quiz Show." Other credits include TV's "Huff," "Tuesdays with Morrie" (Emmy Award), "Fail Safe," "Friends" and "Mad About You."
A New Jersey native, Simpson previously played four seasons at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and worked with director McAnuff in Tartuffe at La Jolla. Simpson was also seen in the Broadway production of Tartuffe as well as in stagings of Camino Real, The Winter's Tale, The Blue Demon, Olive Nightingale Sings, Assassins and A Midsummer Night's Dream. His screen credits include "24," "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "My Name Is Earl," "Carnivale," "Patriotville" and "Zodiac."
Tickets to The Farnsworth Invention at the Music Box, 239 West 45th Street, are available by calling 212) 239-6200. For more information, visit farnsworthonbroadway.com.