David Strathairn Will Play Father to The Heiress on Broadway

By Kenneth Jones
March 15, 2012

David Strathairn, the Academy Award nominee for "Good Night, and Good Luck," will play the imposing Dr. Sloper, father of the title character in Broadway's new production of The Heiress starring "The Help" Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain as Catherine.



Strathairn's casting was announced on March 15. He won an Emmy in 2010 for Best Supporting Actor in the HBO film "Temple Grandin." His stage work includes plays at Manhattan Theatre Club, the New York Shakespeare Festival, SoHo Rep, Hartford Stage, Ensemble Studio Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre. Later this year he will appear opposite Daniel Day Lewis in the feature film "Lincoln," directed by Steven Spielberg. The Heiress, the Ruth Goetz & Augustus Goetz classic based on Henry James' novel "Washington Square," will be directed by Tony Award-nominated playwright and director Moisés Kaufman (I Am My Own Wife, 33 Variations, The Laramie Project). It will open in fall 2012 at a theatre to be announced.

The Heiress will be produced by Paula Wagner, Roy Furman and Stephanie P. McClelland.

Chastain played the title role of Salome opposite Al Pacino in the 2006 Los Angeles staging of Oscar Wilde's play, and appeared in Othello at the Public Theater and Rodney's Wife at Playwrights Horizons, both Off-Broadway. She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, an Academy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance as vivacious outsider Celia Foote in "The Help," the film version of the best-selling novel. Her 2011 film credits also include "The Tree of Life," "The Debt" and "Take Shelter." The Heiress will mark Chastain's Broadway debut.

The Heiress is the durable 1947 play about a plain spinster named Catherine Sloper, a gold-digger suitor, a blunt father and a family home with a good view of Washington Square. The play tells of Catherine being pulled between her cold father and a warm and handsome suitor who may be motivated by greed. 

In 1995, Lincoln Center Theater had a major hit with a revival of the 1850-set play. It won Tony Awards for Best Revival, Best Actress (Cherry Jones), Best Featured Actress in a Play (Frances Sternhagen) and Best Direction of a Play (Gerald Gutierrez). It was the third Broadway revival for the play, and was celebrated for adding depth and psychological heft to a work that could be lazily sold as melodrama.

The property was a famous 1949 Hollywood film starring Olivia de Havilland (who won the Best Actress Oscar for her work) and Montgomery Clift. It was nominated for Best Picture.

Together Ruth Goetz and Augustus Goetz wrote the Broadway plays Franklin Street (1940); One Man Show (1945); The Immoralist (1954), an adaptation from the novel by Andre Gide; and The Hidden River (1957), an adaptation of a novel by Storm Jameson. The Goetzes also collaborated on the films "The Heiress" (Academy Award, 1949), "Sister Carrie" (1950), "Rhapsody," "Trapeze" and "Stagestruck." Ruth Goetz is the sole author of the plays Sweet Love Remembered (1959), written after her husband's death in 1957; and Madly in Love (1963).

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