PHOTO CALL: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, With Scarlett Johansson and Benjamin Walker, on Broadway
By Matthew Blank
The Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' 1955 drama Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, starring Tony Award winner Scarlett Johansson and Benjamin Walker, began previews Dec. 18 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
Tony Award winner Rob Ashford (Evita, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Finding Neverland) helms the production that will officially open Jan. 17, 2013, for a 15-week engagement. This marks the third revival of the Mississippi-set family drama within a decade.
Cat On a Hot Tin Roof was last revived in 2008 with an all-African American cast led by Terrence Howard and Anika Noni Rose. A 2003 revival starred Jason Patric and Ashley Judd. Ben Gazzara and Barbara Bel Geddes originated the central roles of Brick and Maggie, respectively.
Johansson (A View from the Bridge, "Matchpoint," "The Avengers") stars as Maggie opposite Walker (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," "Flags of Our Fathers," Les Liaisons Dangereuses) as Brick, with Irish actor Ciaran Hinds ("Game of Thrones," "Harry Potter") as Big Daddy and Tony Award winner Debra Monk (Curtains, Redwood Curtain) as Big Mama.
The cast is completed by Emily Bergl (Becky Shaw, "Desperate Housewives") and Michael Park (Middletown, How to Succeed...) as intrusive kin Mae and Gooper, respectively, with Vin Knight as Reverend Tooker, Brian Reddy as Doctor Baugh, as well as Will Cobbs, Tanya Birl, Jordan Dean, Lance Roberts and Cherene Snow.
Cat On a Hot Tin Roof marks Ashford's directorial debut of a non-musical production on Broadway. He is known for his work on How to Succeed in Business; Promises, Promises; as well as Evita; Curtains; and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Ashford previously staged A Streetcar Named Desire and Anna Christie at the Donmar Warehouse.
"Well, the play is very musical," Walker told Playbill in a recent interview. "It is music. It is poetry. It is dance. A trap of the play is to let the movement be worn down slow by the Southern heat, but these people really are like a cat on a hot tin roof—screaming, bouncing, constantly jumping in pain. The need for that physicality is something Rob really understands and is brilliant at pulling out of us."
The design team includes Christopher Oram (scenic design), Julie Weiss (costume design), Neil Austin (lighting design) and Adam Cork (composer and sound design).
According to producers, "Big Daddy Pollitt, the richest cotton planter in the Mississippi Delta, is about to celebrate his 65th birthday. He is distressed by the rocky relationship between his beloved son Brick, an aging football hero who has turned to drink, and his beautiful and feisty wife Maggie. As the hot summer evening unfolds, the veneer of Southern gentility slips away as unpleasant truths emerge and greed, lies and suppressed sexuality reach a boiling point."
It is produced by Stuart Thompson, Jon B. Platt, The Araca Group, Roger Berlind, Scott M. Delman, Roy Furman, Ruth Hendel, Carl Moellenberg, Scott & Brian Zeilinger, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Tulchin/Bartner Productions, Scott Rudin.
The Richard Rodgers Theatre is located at 226 West 46th Street. Visit catonahottinroofbroadway.com.
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