Mamet's Oleanna, with Pullman and Stiles, Begins Broadway Run Sept. 29

By Adam Hetrick
29 Sep 2009

Julia Stiles and Bill Pullman in Oleanna
Julia Stiles and Bill Pullman in Oleanna
Photo by Craig Schwartz

Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles face-off in Tony nominated and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet's dramatic battle of the sexes, Oleanna, which begins previews at Broadway's John Golden Theatre Sept. 29.

Tony Award-winning director Doug Hughes (Doubt, The Royal Family, Frozen) stages the production that will officially open Oct. 11. Oleanna arrives on Broadway following an acclaimed run at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles last summer.

The tempestuous play focuses on the relationship between an intimidating university professor on the verge of obtaining tenure (Pullman), and a timid female student (Stiles) who is having difficulty with the concepts in his classroom. Neither one are who or what they seem, and in the end, an act of sexual harassment may or may not occur. Oleanna is often described as Mamet's attack on political correctness.

The Broadway production of Oleanna features the L.A. creative team, including scenic designer Neil Patel, costume designer Catherine Zuber, lighting designer Donald Holder and fight director Rick Sordelet.

Oleanna also begins its first "Take a Side" talkbacks following the Sept. 29 preview. Judith Kaye, JD (president of Judith Kaye Training & Consulting) moderates the first discussion that includes FOX News Channel legal analyst Lis Wiehl and harassment and dispute resolution litigator Kathleen M. McKenna. The 30 minute post performance discussions will follow each preview performance of Oleanna.

Pullman starred opposite Mercedes Ruehl in Edward Albee's Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? His stage credits include Albee's Peter and Jerry at Second Stage and the Kennedy Center production of The Subject Was Roses. His films include "Independence Day," "Igby Goes Down," "Lost Highway," "Sleepless in Seattle," "Ruthless People," "While You Were Sleeping," "Titan A.E.," "Lake Placid" and "Spaceballs."

Stiles, who is making her Broadway debut in Oleanna, earned acclaim for her performance in a previous production of of the play in London's West End in 2004 opposite Aaron Eckhart. Her additional stage credits include the 2002 Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night as Viola, Fran's Bed at Playwrights Horizons and The Vagina Monologues. She has appeared in the David Mamet films "State and Main" and "Edmond"; as well as "I Love You, I Love You Not"; "10 Things I Hate About You"; "Save the Last Dance"; "Mona Lisa Smiles"; and the three Bourne movies, "The Bourne Identity," "The Bourne Supremacy" and "The Bourne Ultimatum."

Mamet is the award-winning author of many plays including Glengarry Glen Ross (1984 Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle Award, 2005 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play), American Buffalo, Boston Marriage, November, Speed-the-Plow and The Cryptogram. He has penned the screenplays for such films as "The Verdict," "The Untouchables," "Wag the Dog" and his own adaptation of "Oleanna." He has twice been nominated for an Academy Award. He has written and directed ten films including "Homicide," "The Spanish Prisoner," "State and Main," "House of Games," "Spartan" and "Redbelt."

Oleanna is produced on Broadway by Jeffrey Finn, Arlene Scanlan, Jed Bernstein, Ken Davenport, Carla Emil, Ergo Entertainment, Harbor Entertainment, Elie Hirschfeld, Rachel Hirschfeld, HOP Theatricals, Brian Fenty/Martha H. Jones and Center Theatre Group.

William H. Macy and Rebecca Pidgeon starred in the premiere production of Oleanna in 1992 at Mamet's Back Bay Theater Company in Cambridge, MA. Mamet revised parts of the play, including the ending, which transferred Off-Broadway later that year with Macy and Pidgeon under his direction. Harold Pinter would later direct the 1993 London premiere, which utilized Mamet's original ending for the play. Mamet also directed his screenplay for the 1994 film that featured Debra Eisenstadt opposite Macy.

Tickets are currently on sale through March 7, 2010. The John Golden Theatre is located at 252 W. 45th Street.

For tickets visit Telecharge or call (212) 239-6200.