By Andrew Gans
07 Mar 2011
Pace will play Bruce Niles, and Parsons will portray Tommy Boatwright; both will be making their Broadway debuts.
It was also recently reported that Tony Award winner George C. Wolfe, former artistic director of the Public Theater, will assist fellow Tony winner Joel Grey in the direction of the drama. The New York Times stated that Grey, who will soon be seen in the Broadway revival of Anything Goes, has asked Wolfe to help out with the direction since Grey will also be busy with the revival of the Cole Porter classic. Wolfe will go unbilled in the production credits.
Wolfe will help supervise through opening night, which is scheduled for April 27.
As he did in the earlier reading, Tony winner Joe Mantello will play Ned Weeks, the hero of the drama about fear in the early days of the AIDS crisis.
The cast will also include John Benjamin Hickey as Ned's lover, Felix Turner; and Ellen Barkin, in her Broadway debut, as Dr. Emma Brookner.
The production marks the Broadway debut of writer-activist Kramer, and a Broadway acting return for Mantello, who gave up performing (he was a Tony nominee for playing Louis in Angels in America) in recent years in favor of directing (Assassins, Take Me Out, Wicked, 9 to 5, The Odd Couple). It will also mark the Broadway directing debut of Tony Award-winning actor Grey.
A 25th anniversary benefit staged reading of Kramer's The Normal Heart, directed by Grey, was presented at the Walter Kerr Theatre Oct. 18, 2010. Daryl Roth produced the reading, which supported both the Actors Fund and Friends in Deed.
Director Grey starred in the original 1985 Off-Broadway production of The Normal Heart at The Public Theater, in which he played Ned, based semi-autobiographically on playwright Kramer. (Grey succeeded Brad Davis, who originated the role.) Worth Street Theatre revived the play Off-Broadway in 2004, at the Public.
Daryl Roth is also producing the Broadway staging along with Paul Boskind. In a statement she said, "The Normal Heart has the timeless power to challenge, inform, and create a place for dialogue and understanding in the way that only theater can. It is emotionally charged, moving, passionate and powerful drama at its best. It is time for Larry Kramer’s unforgettable words to be heard on Broadway so that they may challenge us anew."
Distinguished members of the community will lead a series of talkbacks, immediately following Tuesday performances, that underscore the themes and historical context of the play. The schedule of guests will be announced shortly.
A percentage of the production’s weekly profits will be donated to a group of dedicated nonprofit organizations, including The Actors Fund and Friends In Deed, among others.
Tickets, priced $26.50-$116.50, are available via Telecharge.com, by calling (212) 239-6200, or in person at the John Golden Theatre box office (252 West 45th Street).