Jeffrey Wright Will Be John Guare's Free Man of Color on Broadway; Cast Announced

By Adam Hetrick
August 16, 2010

Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Jeffrey Wright, and Tony nominees Veanne Cox and Reg Rogers, plus Paul Dano of "There Will Be Blood," will star in the world premiere of John Guare's sprawling drama A Free Man of Color on Broadway this fall.



As previously reported, Tony Award-winning director George C. Wolfe will helm the 1801 New Orleans-set production that will begin performances Oct. 21 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater (currently home to the revival of South Pacific). An official opening has been set for Nov. 18.

Wright (Angels in America, Topdog/Underdog), will appear in the central role of Jacques Cornet, with Cox (Company, La Cage aux Folles) and Rogers (The Royal Family) leading a cast that also will feature Peter Bartlett (The New Century), Nicole Beharie (Father Comes Home from the War), Arnie Burton (39 Steps), Rosal Colon, Paul Dano ("There Will Be Blood," "The Extra Man," Inherit the Wind), Sara Gettelfinger (Grey Gardens), Joseph Marcell, Nick Mennell, mos (also known as Mos Def of Topdog/Underdog), Teyonnah Parris, Brian Reddy (Finian's Rainbow), Triney Sandoval (Frost/Nixon), Robert Stanton (The Coast of Utopia), Wendy Rich Stetson (In the Next Room…) and David Emerson Toney (Juan Darien).

According to LCT, "A Free Man of Color is a freewheeling epic set in 1801 New Orleans. Jacques Cornet, the title character (Wright), is a new world Don Juan and the wealthiest inhabitant of this sexually charged and racially progressive city. Jacques thinks all is well in his paradise until history intervenes, setting off a chain of events which no one, much less this free man of color, realizes is about to splinter the world."

The production will have set design by David Rockwell, costume design by Ann Hould-Ward, lighting design by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, sound design by Scott Stauffer, original music by Jeanine Tesori and choreography by Hope Clarke.

The Public Theater had originally been attached to produce Guare's latest play (with Wolfe attached to direct), but budgeting constraints forced the organization to cancel its plans for the large-scale work. A Free Man of Color marks Guare's return to LCT after his plays The House of Blue Leaves, Six Degrees of Separation, Four Baboons Adoring The Sun and Chaucer in Rome all received their premieres there. The play will mark Wolfe's LCT debut.

Guare's plays include Six Degrees of Separation, House of Blue Leaves, Four Baboons Adoring the Sun, Landscape of the Body and the book to the musical Sweet Smell of Success. He earned Tony Awards for the book and lyrics to the 1971 musical Two Gentleman of Verona.

Tickets will be available Sept. 12 by visiting the Vivian Beaumont box office (150 West 65th Street), at Telecharge or by visiting LCT.