Performances, a casting notice indicates, will begin at a Shubert theatre-to-be-announced in early January 2009. David Esbjornson, who directed the Broadway stagings of The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia and The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, will helm the production.
Producers are Frederick Zollo, Jeffrey Sine and Bill Kenwright.
The play, Kessler's best known, is about Harold, a shady businessman who is kidnapped by Treat and Phillip, two brothers — one a predatory and domineering thief, the other an innocent man-child — who have raised themselves without the benefit of parents. After a short time, however, the wily Harold turns the tables and begins to dictate the course of the brothers' lives.
Pacino, according to the casting notice, will portray Harold. A call and e-mail to Pacino's press agent were not returned as of press time.
Orphans premiered in 1983 at Los Angeles' Matrix Theatre and won the Drama-Logue Award there. Its reputation was truly made, however, through a subsequent production at the then-young Steppenwolf Theatre Company. John Mahoney starred as Harold, with Terry Kinney and Kevin Anderson as Treat and Phillip in an explosive production directed by Gary Sinise. The show subsequently traveled to New York and London, where it helped establish Steppenwolf's signature "rock and roll" brand of theatre, as well as Kessler's status as a playwright. Pacino headed the cast of a Los Angeles workshop of Kessler's drama in 2005 at the Greenway Court Theatre.
Al Pacino was most recently on Broadway in Oscar Wilde's Salome: The Reading. He made his Broadway debut in the 1969 production of Does a Tiger Wear Necktie?, earning a Tony Award for his performance. He scored another Tony for his role in the 1977 revival of The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel. Prior to Salome, the stage and film actor was last on Broadway in 1996 in a revival of Hughie, which he also directed. Pacino's other Broadway credits include Camino Real, King Richard III, American Buffalo and Chinese Coffee. He received the Academy Award for his work in the film "Scent of a Woman."