The Write Stuff: Alan Rickman Will Play Literary Star in Theresa Rebeck's Seminar on Broadway
By Kenneth Jones
Jeffrey Finn and Jill Furman will produce the Broadway world premiere of Theresa Rebeck's new play, Seminar, starring Alan Rickman as a world-famous writer with power over young scribes in his class. The dark comedy bows this fall at a Shubert theatre to be announced.
Directed by acclaimed Obie Award winner Sam Gold (Circle Mirror Transformation, The Aliens, Tigers Be Still, Kin, The Coward), in his Broadway debut, the production marks the commercial Broadway debut of the prolific Rebeck, whose Mauritius was staged on Broadway by the not-for-profit Manhattan Theatre Club.
Billed as a "biting comedy" (what else would you expect with Rickman, a Tony Award-nominated veteran of Private Lives and Les Liaisons Dangereuses), Seminar, according to the producers, is about "four young writers who are thrilled to be participating in a private seminar taught by the brilliant but unpredictable Leonard (Rickman), an international literary legend. But as Leonard deems some students more promising than others, tensions arise. Sex is used as a weapon, alliances are made and broken, and it's not just the wordplay that turns vicious…"
Rickman, famous for playing characters with a penchant for waspish responses, arched eyebrows and slow-burn demeanor, is widely known lately as Prof. Snape in the "Harry Potter" movies. He was the over-the-top villain Hans Gruber of the first "Die Hard" film. He's a two-time Tony Award nominee, and winner of an Emmy Award and Golden Globe. Rickman last appeared on Broadway in 2002, earning a Tony nomination as Elyot in Private Lives. He previously made his Broadway debut and earned his first Tony Award nomination as Valmont in the 1987 U.S. premiere production of Les Liasions Dangereuses. He was Judge Turpin in the film version of the musical "Sweeney Todd." He was Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman at the Abbey Theatre in 2010 and at Brooklyn Academy of Music in early 2011.
Rebeck's most recent project is writing the new NBC-TV series "Smash," a scripted hourlong drama about the making of a Broadway musical (coming in 2012). Her plays include Mauritius, The Understudy, Omnium Gatherum, The Family of Mann, Spike Heels and more.
Additional casting and creative team for Seminar will be announced.
Producer Jeffrey Finn's Broadway credits include American Idiot (Tony nomination, Best Musical), A View from the Bridge (Tony nomination, Best Play Revival), Oleanna, Blithe Spirit, On Golden Pond (Tony nomination, Best Play Revival).
Producer Jill Furman was co-lead producer of In the Heights, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2008. Also on Broadway, she co-produced the most recent revival of West Side Story, and is also co-producing the national tour, which is currently running; The Drowsy Chaperone; and associate-produced Sly Fox and Fortune's Fool.
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