China Doll, a two-character play that follows a billionaire named Mickey Ross — who has just bought an airplane for his young fiancée as he prepares to go into semi-retirement — is scheduled to begin previews Oct. 20 at the Schoenfeld Theatre ahead of a Nov. 19 opening. The Schoenfeld is currently booked with Helen Mirren's The Audience, which is scheduled to conclude its limited run June 28.
Two-time Tony Award winner Pacino most recently starred on Broadway in Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross in 2012-13. That production also played the much sought-after Schonfeld Theatre.
The cast will also include Fran Kranz (You Can’t Take It With You, Death of a Salesman). Tony Award-winner Pam MacKinnon (The Heidi Chronicles, Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) will direct. Creative credits includes scenic design by Tony Award-winner Derek McLane (Gigi,Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), lighting design by Russell H. Champa [In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)], and costume design by Tony Award-winner Jess Goldstein (Jersey Boys, Proof).
"He's in the process of leaving his office, and is giving last minute instructions to his young assistant. He takes one last phone call…," Mamet said in a statement about the character of Ross, whom Pacino described as "one of the most daunting and challenging roles I've been given to explore onstage.
"It's a special gift to originate a role in the theatre, especially written by such a formidable writer, and I haven't done that in a long, long time," he added. Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel and Steve Traxler, who produced Pacino's Glengarry and Merchant of Venice, are back to produce the new play.
Along with starring in Glengarry Glen Ross on Broadway, Pacino starred in a 1992 film version of the play as well as a 1983 Broadway production of Mamet's American Buffalo. He described his relationship and collaboration with Mamet as "one of the richest and most rewarding," adding, "We’ve done four projects together and the opportunity to create a new character in the David Mamet canon was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Dave gave me China Doll, a new play he had written for me and it blew me away."
Pacino made his Broadway debut in 1969 with Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?, which won him a Featured Actor Tony Award. His screen credits include "The Godfather" and "Scent of a Woman." Other credits include Camino Real, The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel (Tony Award), King Richard III, American Buffalo, Chinese Coffee, Hughie and The Merchant of Venice.
Mamet, a Pulitzer Prize winner for Glengarry Glen Ross, is also the author of The Anarchist, A Life in the Theatre, Race, Oleanna, Speed-the-Plow, November, The Old Neighborhood and The Water Engine/Mr. Happiness.