New York theatre critics have been trained over the years, when faced with a season crowded with revivals, to groan and bemoan the state of the American theatre. But, given the talent involved, it's hard not to get a wee bit excited about this fall's dramatic reexaminations. Arguably the most anticipated of the new productions of old plays is This Is Our Youth, the 1996 Kenneth Lonergan play about three witty but wayward young souls in 1982 New York. The unique character study made Lonergan's name when The New Group first produced it, and launched the career of actor Mark Ruffalo. The production — Lonergan's long-in-coming Broadway debut — hails from Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company and stars Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and Tavi Gevinson. It opens Sept. 11 at the Cort.
Also getting its belated Broadway premiere is It's Only a Play, Terrence McNally's 1982 play about a nervous playwright awaiting opening-night reviews and his back-biting frenemy. The new production reunites the duo of Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick (The Producers), whose prowess at the box office is the stuff of theatre legend. Megan Mullally, F. Murray Abraham and Stockard Channing lend able assistance. The opening at the Schoenfeld is Oct. 9.
Matching the McNally in ensemble might is a new Pam MacKinnon-directed mounting of Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance, last seen on Broadway nearly two decades ago. Congregating in this tale of vague existential angst, but very real familial strife, are Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Martha Plimpton, Bob Balaban, Clare Higgins and Lindsay Duncan. The curtain goes up at the Golden Nov. 20.
No less stressed but a little more sunny, is the crowded household in Kaufman and Hart's 1936 perennial You Can't Take It With You, which will get its first Broadway revival in more than 30 years at the Longacre Sept. 28. James Earl Jones blithely oversees a household peopled by the reliably loopy likes of Kristine Nielsen, Elizabeth Ashley, Mark Linn-Baker and Reg Rogers.
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