Elling, Starring Denis O'Hare and Brendan Fraser as Roommates, Opens on Broadway Nov. 21

By Andrew Gans
21 Nov 2010

Denis O'Hare and Brendan Fraser
Denis O'Hare and Brendan Fraser
Photo by Joan Marcus

Simon Bent's Elling, the odd-couple comedy previously seen in London, officially opens on Broadway Nov. 21 at 6:15 PM at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre following previews that began Nov. 2.

The production, which marks the Broadway debut of film actor Brendan Fraser, is directed by Doubt's Doug Hughes and also boasts Tony winners Denis O'Hare and Richard Easton as well as Jennifer Coolidge ("A Mighty Wind," "Best in Show") and Jeremy Shamos (Reckless).

Director Hughes recently told Playbill.com, "The script [for Elling] came to me about two years ago, and I was infatuated at first reading. It's unique. Sometimes I've described this play as Of Mice and Men with a happy ending. It's one of the great double-acts that I've come across directing plays, a wonderfully pure, humane comedy that's about problems in living that all of us know all too well. I think all of us have trouble, as the major characters in this play, Elling and Kjell, played by Denis O'Hare and Brendan Fraser, have — distinguishing reality from fantasy, overcoming anxiety in social situations, fending for ourselves and facing difficult problems in living. And I just thought there was a fantastic purity of comedy about this, and a relationship that was so touching without ever being sentimental. I wanted to do it the second I turned the final page."

"Set in the current day," Elling, according to producers, "is a comedy about a wildly mismatched pair of roommates trying to embrace life, love, friendship, pizza, poetry and women." O'Hare plays obsessive/compulsive Elling with Fraser as the wildly enthusiastic gentle giant Kjell, Coolidge as Reidun, the object of Kjell's affection, and Easton as Alfons, Elling's unlikely poet mentor. Shamos plays poet Frank Asli.



The design team comprises Scott Pask (set), Kenneth Posner (lighting), Catherine Zuber (costumes), Tim Watson (wig and hair design) and David Van Tieghem (composer/sound).

The Broadway mounting is produced by Howard Panter for Ambassador Theatre Group, Bob Bartner, Bill Kenwright John O'Boyle, Deborah Taylor, Burnt Umber Bill Ballard/David Mirvish, Finola Dwyer, David Parfitt, Ronnie Planalp, and Michael David in association with Bob Boyett.

Brendan Fraser has been seen on screen in "Gods and Monsters," "Crash," "The Mummy," "Dudley Do-Right" and more.

Denis O'Hare received a 2004 Tony nomination for his work as Charles Guiteau in the Tony-winning revival of Assassins. He won the Tony for his performance in Take Me Out. O'Hare's other Broadway credits include Inherit the Wind, Sweet Charity, Major Barbara, Cabaret and Racing Demon.

Richard Easton's numerous Broadway credits include a Tony-winning turn in The Invention of Love.

Jennifer Coolidge appeared on Broadway in a revival of The Women.

Jeremy Shamos has been seen on Broadway in Reckless and The Rivals.

Show times are Tuesday-Saturday at 8 PM with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM and Sunday at 3 PM. Beginning Nov. 23, all Tuesday performances will begin at 7 PM.

Tickets, priced $46.50-$126.50, are available by visiting Telecharge.com or by calling (212) 239-6200.

For more information visit www.EllingOnBroadway.com.