PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, May 10-16: Starry Cast Set for Edward Albee Revival and Miss Saigon’s Helicopter May Land on Broadway

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16 May 2014

John Lithgow
John Lithgow

As much as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Edward Albee's brittle and elegant play of existential unease, A Delicate Balance, always commands a 40-karat cast.

The original 1966 Broadway premiere featured the inimitable Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, with sturdy support by Marian Seldes (who won a Tony for her work) and Rosemary Murphy. The first Broadway revival of the play, in 1996, starred George Grizzard and Rosemary Harris as the central married couple, Elaine Stritch as Harris' sister and Mary Beth Hurt as their daughter. Even the smaller parts were played by notable actors: Elizabeth Wilson and John Carter. It was that production, which won a Tony, that was largely responsible for restoring the drama's reputation as one of Albee's finest. (The original had been rather damned with faint praise.)

Now, nearly two decades since that mounting, A Delicate Balance is coming back. And damn if the cast isn't another whopper in terms of fame and talent! Glenn Close and John Lithgow top the bill, followed by Lindsay Duncan, Bob Balaban, Clare Higgins and Martha Plimpton. The producer is Scott Rudin, who does not deal in small potatoes.

Pam MacKinnon, who earned a Tony Award for the 2012 Broadway revival of Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, will stage A Delicate Balance, which begins previews Oct. 20 at the Golden Theatre.

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When you think about it, mega-producer Cameron Mackintosh really only has a handful of plays. But he keeps bringing them back again and again. He's already sent Les Misérables back to Broadway twice following its initial long Broadway run. And he's staged Oliver! twice in the West End, in 1994 and 2009, and once on Broadway, in 1984.

Now, the showman plans to bring the new London production of one of his biggest hits, Miss Saigon to Broadway in 2015, if the reviews are strong in Britain and a suitable theatre becomes available in New York.

The New York Times reported that two theatre executives spoke about Mackintosh's plans, although the news of a Broadway transfer has been buzzed about since the announcement of the London return. The official opening night in the West End is set for May 21, with a American high-schooler named Eva Noblezada in the central role of Kim.

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The complete cast for the Park Avenue Armory production of Macbeth, starring Kenneth Branagh, has been announced. Performances of the immersive production begin May 31 in the Armory's expansive Wade Thompson Drill Hall.

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