A Playless Rialto—For Now

Inside Track   A Playless Rialto—For Now
If you’re in the mood for a good, meaty straight play on Broadway, you’ll have to wait.  Come Aug. 21, when the curtain comes down on David Mamet’s Race, Broadway will go on an unofficial play hiatus until Sept. 3 when Mrs. Warren’s Profession goes into previews. For now, it's only musicals.

Many plays this past season paraded out the stars: Jude Law, Scarlett Johansson, James Spader, Alfred Molina, Daniel Craig, Tony Shalhoub, Liev Schreiber, Christopher Walken, Sienna Miller, Denzel Washington and Hugh Jackman.

Others featured seasoned stage actors like Rosemary Harris, Linda Lavin, Victor Garber, Michael McKean, Jan Maxwell and Marin Ireland.

Some were hits — like Time Stands Still, which will re-emerge on Broadway this season at the Cort on Sept. 23. Others, like Next Fall (one of my personal favorites), Brighton Beach Memoirs and Enron (a huge hit in London), were eclipsed by the aforementioned star-power pizzazz.

Some older shows got fresh faces, like 2009's Best Play Tony winner, God of Carnage’s musical-chairs of stars including Lucy Liu and Christine Lahti.  Big revivals gave us a new Hamlet, a new Troy Maxson and a new Eddie Carbone.

We had offerings from some of the greatest playwrights in theatrical history like William Shakespeare, August Wilson, David Mamet (x2) and Neil Simon. And we heard from some talented Broadway newcomers—Sarah Ruhl, John Logan and Geoffrey Nauffts.
In the end, donuts were baked, tenors sang, corporations collapsed and hands were severed.  I’d say it’s been a varied season for plays on Broadway...and so far, 2010-2011 seems just as versatile.

Broadway will see its sixth Mrs. Warren's Profession, starring Tony and Emmy winner Cherry Jones. Tony winning director George C. Wolfe takes on John Guare's A Free Man of Color. The NFL presents Eric Simonson's (brother to Playbill's Robert Simonson) story of football legend Vince Lombardi. David Hyde Pierce returns to Broadway with the revival of David Girson's 1991 Molieresque modern verse play La Bête. David Mamet, a seemingly ubiquitous presence on Broadway, is back with A Life in the Theatre starring Patrick Stewart and T.R. Knight (of "Gray's Anatomy"). Billy Elliot librettist Lee Hall returns to the mine with The Pitmen Painters. Al Pacino moves from the Park to the Main Stage in The Merchant of Venice. And Driving Miss Daisy gives us a star-packed, one-two punch in the form of Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones.

So, as you can see dear Playbillians, don't fret...the play will be the thing again...soon.

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