Revival of Mamet's American Buffalo Finds a Broadway Home

By Andrew Gans
August 19, 2008

The revival of David Mamet's American Buffalo — co-starring John Leguizamo and Cedric the Entertainer — will play the Belasco Theatre.

Another Mamet play, Speed-the Plow, had been scheduled to play the Belasco, but it was announced earlier Aug. 19 that Speed-the-Plow will now play the Barrymore, which had been scheduled to house the now-postponed Godspell. Directed by Robert Falls, previews of American Buffalo will begin Oct. 31 at the Belasco with an official opening scheduled for Nov. 17.

American Buffalo, according to press notes, is described as such: "In one of Mamet’s signature works the bungled heist of an old nickel by three lowlifes based in a Chicago pawnshop suggests how the language and practice of American business and power politics are insidious forces in our society."

David Mamet's 1976 Obie Award-winning play, American Buffalo, originally opened at Chicago's Goodman Theater. The play established Mamet's reputation when it ran on Broadway in 1977 with a cast that featured Robert Duvall, John Savage and Kenneth MacMillan. It was revived by Al Pacino at the Booth Theatre in 1983. A 2000 Off-Broadway revival at Atlantic Theatre Company starred William H. Macy as Teach. A 1996 film starred Dustin Hoffman and Dennis Franz.

A founder of the Atlantic Theater Company, David Mamet's principal works include The Duck Variations, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, American Buffalo, Glengarry Glen Ross (Pulitzer Prize), Boston Marriage, Edmond, Oleanna, Speed-the-Plow and The Cryptogram (Obie Award). He recently adapted The Voysey Inheritance for the Atlantic and was represented on Broadway with the political comedy November.

Falls is the artistic director of the Goodman Theatre. His Broadway directorial credits include The Speed of Darkness, The Rose Tattoo, The Night of the Iguana, The Young Man from Atlanta, Death of a Salesman, Aida, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Shining City and Talk Radio. He won a 1999 Tony Award for his direction of the Salesman revival.

Leguizamo's one-man shows include Mambo Mouth, the Tony-nominated Sexaholix (later taped for HBO; Emmy Award) and Freak: A Semi Demi Quasi Pseudo Autobiography, which also garnered the actor a Tony nomination. Also a film star, Leguizamo appeared as Toulouse Lautrec in Baz Luhrmann's "Moulin Rouge"; in "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar" in drag as Miss Chi-Chi Rodriguez; and in Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet" as a Virgin Mary gun-toting Tybalt. His biggest role came in the 1999 Spike Lee film "The Summer of Sam." Leguizamo also starred in the HBO drama "Undefeated," which he also directed, and was seen in the independent film "Sueno."

Cedric the Entertainer (Missouri-born Cedric Kyles)'s film credits include "Be Cool," "Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins," "The Honeymooners," "Madagascar," "Ice Age," "Man of the House," "Barbershop" and "Barbershop 2," among others.

American Buffalo will be produced by Elliot Martin, Ben Sprecher, Louise Forlenza, Wendy Federman and Nelle Nugent.

Tickets will go on sale Sept. 4 through Telecharge by calling (212) 239-6200 or by visiting www.telecharge.com.

The Belasco Theatre is located in Manhattan at 111 West 44th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues. The Belasco Theatre box office will open Sept. 8 at 10 AM ET.