Tickets are now on sale for the Broadway production of Barrymore, a new drama about legendary stage actor John Barrymore, starring Christopher Plummer. The production will open on Broadway March 25 at the Music Box Theatre on West 45th Street.
For tickets ($25-$55) and information, call (212) 239-6200. Outside NY metro area: (800) 432-7250. You can also order tickets on Playbill On-Line.
Produced by Livent Inc.'s Garth Drabinsky and directed by Gene Saks, the production is touring the U.S. after opening to positive reviews at the Avon Theatre in Stratford, Ontario.
Barrymore, by William Luce, is a joint production of Stratford Festival Theatre and Livent. In the Luce play, Plummer has the starring role of John Barrymore, the once-great classical actor. It's now 1942 and he struggles to recreate his triumphant performance as King Richard III. Though ravaged by time and alcohol, he has lost neither his zest for life nor his passion for his art. Michael Mastro plays the unseen, off-stage prompter (named "Frank") who helps Barrymore recall his lines.
Luce is the author of another fact-based tour de-force, The Belle of Amherst, about Emily Dickinson. He has also been responsible for one person shows about Lillian Hellman, Charlotte Bronte, Isak Dinesen and Zelda Fitzgerald.
The production is in the midst of a four-month tour. Remaining stops:
Wilbur Theatre in Boston -- Jan. 21 - Feb. 2
Byham Theatre in Pittsburgh -- Feb. 4-16
Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore -- Feb. 18- Mar. 2
Shubert Theatre in Chicago -- Mar. 4-9
Christopher Plummer has appeared on Broadway in Beckett, The Lark, Othello and Macbeth and has won two Drama Desk, an Outer Critics Circle, a Theatre World, a London Evening Standard, and a Tony Award. He's perhaps best known for playing Captain Von Trapp in the film of the musical The Sound of Music. His widely varied career includes singing the lead in a musical Cyrano on Broadway, supplying the mellifluous voice of the rhyming narrator in the Madeleine children's videos, and portrayed a Shakespeare-spouting Klingon in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. He is so far the last actor to play Macbeth on Broadway.
Directed by Gene Saks, Barrymore is designed by Santo Loquasto (Ragtime, Lost In Yonkers) with lighting by Natasha Katz. The show's current advertisement has a drawing (by Paul Davis) of a distinguishedly grey Plummer, in a dapper pinstripe suit and sporting a pencil-thin white moustache.
Plummer received a standing ovation on opening night in Ontario, where Richard Monette, Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival, confirmed with Playbill On-Line at the reception after the opening that this is the first of many co-operative ventures with Livent.
Marty Bell, Vice President of Livent, said he was very pleased with the response to Barrymore.
Barrymore will be the second of three views of troubled actor John Barrymore that Broadway will have seen in a single year's time. Nicol Williamson played the same character in Jack: A Night on the Town With John Barrymore, which had a brief run in spring 1996 at the Belasco Theatre. William Finn is preparing a new musical The Royal Family of Broadway based on Edna Ferber's The Royal Family which is based on the famous Barrymore acting clan. That clan persists today: actress Drew Barrymore is John's granddaughter.
John Barrymore's ghost figured prominently in the early 1990s comedy, I Hate Hamlet.