Naughton, Thomas, Prosky and Cumpsty to Star in Broadway Democracy; Complete Cast Announced

News   Naughton, Thomas, Prosky and Cumpsty to Star in Broadway Democracy; Complete Cast Announced Complete casting has been announced for the Broadway bow of Michael Frayn's Democracy, the acclaimed play about West German politics and personalities during the Cold War.
Top: James Naughton, Bottom: Michael Cumpsty
Top: James Naughton, Bottom: Michael Cumpsty

James Naughton and Richard Thomas will head the cast of the production, which bowed last season at London's National Theatre and which will begin previews Nov. 2 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre with an official opening scheduled for Nov. 18. Naughton will portray West German chancellor Willy Brandt opposite Richard Thomas, who will star as the East German spy Günter Guillaume. The cast will also feature Robert Prosky as Wehner and Michael Cumpsty as Kretschmann.

Completing the company are Terry Beaver (Reinhard Wilke), John Dossett (Helmut Schmidt), Julian Gamble (Ulrich Bauhaus), John Christopher Jones (Hans-Dietrich Genscher) , Richard Masur (Horst Ehmke) and Lee Wilkof (Günter Nollau).

Michael Blakemore, who directed in England, repeats his work, which reunited him with his Copenhagen playwright. The latter play won the 2000 Tony Award for Best Play and Best Director.

"A thrilling and moving tale of espionage, loyalty, unexpected betrayals and the paths we choose in life, Democracy is set in West Germany in the late 1960s – a time of hope and unlimited possibilities," according to an earlier announcement. "The play charts the astonishing career of Willy Brandt, in his brief but remarkable tenure as Germany's first liberal leader for nearly 40 years. Always present but rarely noticed is Günter Guillaume, Brandt's devoted personal assistant – and no less devoted in his other role as a double-agent, spying on Brandt for East Germany's infamous Ministry of State Security."

The play opened to raves at the National's Cottesloe Theatre in August 2003, where it won the 2003 Evening Standard Award for Best Play, the 2003 Critics' Circle Award for Best Play and the 2003 South Bank Award for Best Play. The production recently opened in London's West End at Wyndhams Theatre. Set design is by Peter J. Davison, costume design by Sue Wilmington, lighting design by Mark Henderson and sound design by Neil Alexander.

James Naughton, most recently on Broadway in the short-lived Prymate, won his first Tony Award in 1990 for his performance in Cy Coleman's City of Angels and his second for his work in the revival of Chicago; his other Broadway credits include Four Baboons Adoring the Sun, I Love My Wife and Whose Life Is It Anyway?, and he has been seen Off-Broadway in E.L. Doctorow's Drinks Before Dinner and Losing Time. Also a director, his production of Arthur Miller's The Price, which premiered at the Williamstown Theater Festival, moved to Broadway and garnered a Tony nomination for Best Revival of a Play. Naughton's film credits include "The Good Mother" with Diane Keaton, "The Glass Menagerie" with Joanne Woodward and "The Paper Chase." Television audiences know the actor through his appearances on such series as "Brooklyn Bridge," "Ally McBeal" and "Who's The Boss?" Naughton also directed Paul Newman in a production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town, which played Broadway last season.

On Broadway Richard Thomas has been seen in Love Letters, The Front Page, Fifth of July, Everything in the Garden, The Playroom, Strange Interlude and Sunrise at Campobello. He recently took part in the Kennedy Center's celebration of Tennessee Williams starring in the solo show Letters from Tennessee: A Distant Country Called Youth. Thomas, however, is best known for his Emmy-winning work on TV's "The Waltons."

Michael Cumpsty's numerous Broadway credits include Artist Descending a Staircase, La Bete, Timon of Athens, The Heiress, Translations, Racing Demon, 1776, Electra, Copenhagen, 42nd Street and Enchanted April.

Robert Prosky's work on The Great White Way includes Moonchildren, A View from the Bridge, Glengarry Glen Ross and A Walk in the Woods. Prosky was Tony-nominated for his performances in both Glengarry and Woods.

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