THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, July 26-Aug. 1: Denzel Washington Will Return to Stage, Winslow Boy to Hold Court, I'm Getting My Act Together Might Go to Broadway

ICYMI   THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, July 26-Aug. 1: Denzel Washington Will Return to Stage, Winslow Boy to Hold Court, I'm Getting My Act Together Might Go to Broadway
 
Denzel Washington, who won the 2010 Tony Award for his performance in Fences, finally got around to confirming that he was indeed returning to Broadway this coming season in a revival of A Raisin in the Sun. He revealed the news at the premiere his new, very un-Lorraine-Hansberry-like movie, "2 Guns."

Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

The production will be directed by Kenny Leon, who is not at all sick of the play, as he will be staging it on Broadway for the second time in a decade. (He piloted the 2004 revival.) Raisin will begin March 8, 2014, prior to an official opening night April 3, 2014, at the Barrymore Theatre. The revival will, of course, be a limited 14-week limited engagement, which has become the accepted norm for busy film stars visiting Broadway.

As previously reported, Washington will play Walter Lee Younger in the classic drama, making the 58-year-old actor a bit of an older Younger than theatregoers usually see. The last person to play the part on Broadway was Sean Combs, who was 34 at the time. In the original production in 1959, Sidney Poitier was 35.

The production will also star Diahann Carroll as Lena Younger, in her first Broadway appearance in over 30 years, Sophie Okonedo as Ruth Younger, Anika Noni Rose as Beneatha Younger, Stephen Tyrone Williams as Joseph Asagai, Jason Dirden as George Murchison and Stephen McKinley Henderson as Bobo.

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The Roundabout Theatre Company, about the only outfit on Broadway that could be depended upon to dust off an old English chestnut like Terence Rattigan's The Winslow Boy, is doing just that. A new production of the drama — the first since 1948 — will bow at the American Airlines Theatre Oct. 17. Roger Rees will star in the piece as Arthur Winslow, the father who does not take his young son's dismissal from Naval school (for stealing a postal note) lying down, but hires a celebrated lawyer, Sir Robert Morton, to defend the case. Alessandro Nivola plays Morton, with Michael Cumpsty as Desmond Curry and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Grace Winslow.

T.R. Knight
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

The story, which is more about the emotional and psychic costs of defending one's honor than about a court case, is based on an actual incident that took place in England in 1908. The Rattigan play recently gained renewed currency when it was adapted into a praised 1999 film directed aby David Mamet. ***

The Classic Stage Company has managed to lure William Hurt back to the New York stage for the first time in decades, to play Friar Laurence in a production of Romeo and Juliet. Before hitting it big in films in the early '80s, Hurt was a major and heralded presence in the theatre. A member of the Off-Broadway troupe Circle Rep, he appeared in such plays as Fifth of July. But he was last seen in Manhattan in Hurlyburly in 1984.

As previously announced, Shakespeare's tale of star-crossed lovers will feature Elizabeth Olsen as Juliet. Finn Wittrock, previously announced to co-star as Romeo, has withdrawn from the production due to a film conflict. Also in the cast is "Grey's Anatomy" star T.R. Knight as Mercutio and former Rent wild child Daphne Rubin-Vega as the Nurse.

The show begins performances Sept. 27, prior to an official opening night Oct. 16.

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The Gretchen Cryer-Nancy Ford female empowerment musical I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road — little heard from since its late '70s heyday — may have a future commercial life following its recent staging as part of the Encores! Off-Center series, according to the New York Post.

The Post reports that Erin Craig, of La Vie Productions, who holds the rights to the 1978 musical, is meeting with Kathleen Marshall regarding future plans for the show. The plans could potentially include a Broadway premiere for the show, which spent the many years of its initial hit staging Off-Broadway. Marshall directed and choreographed the recent production, which starred Renee Elise Goldsberry

Julie Taymor
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Should the production indeed transfer, it would prove a nice kick-off for the new series — akin to the jump start the original Encores! received when its presentation of Chicago travelled to Broadway and became an enormous success.  ***

Theatre for a New Audience has announced its new season — the first at its new facility in Brooklyn.

The season will open with A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Julie Taymor. The show will feature music by Elliot Goldenthal, and the cast will include Tina Benko as Titania, Max Casella as Bottom, David Harewood as Oberon and Kathryn Hunter as Puck. Previews begin Oct. 19, prior to an official opening Nov. 2.

The season will continue with the tragedy King Lear. Directed by Arin Arbus, the production will star Michael Pennington as Lear. Previews begin March 14.

Michael Shannon will star in Ionesco's The Killer. Previews of the new translation by Michael Feingold — who is happily finding work after being dismissed from his long time post as theatre critic at The Village Voice — directed by Darko Tresnjak, will begin May 17.

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