Roundabout Aims Hedda Gabler Toward Broadway

News   Roundabout Aims Hedda Gabler Toward Broadway
A "new interpretation" of Henrik Ibsen's 1890 classic Hedda Gabler, about a wife suffocating in her life of domesticity, is under consideration by Roundabout Theatre Company for a Broadway run in early 2009.

No further details have been made public about the hope for the once-scandalous play by the Norwegian master. The production would play the American Airlines Theatre in winter 2009, according to the not-for-profit's website.

Here's how Roundabout bills it: "A woman of dangerous independence restrained by a conventional marriage, Hedda Gabler indulges in a cruel game, amusing herself with the misfortune she inflicts on those around her. Hedda struggles to balance her wild desires against the presentable life she's chosen for herself, but instead sets into motion a manic chain of events. A new interpretation of Henrik Ibsen's modern classic, Hedda Gabler is surprising, scandalous and subversive."

The classic's most recent Broadway revival came in 2001-02 and starred Kate Burton as the pistol-friendly Hedda. She was nominated for a Best Actress Tony.

Roundabout staged Hedda Gabler at Criterion Center Stage Right in 1994. Kelly McGillis starred as Hedda; a young Laura Linney played Thea.

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There have been two recent riffs on Hedda Gabler by contemporary playwrights.

Tony Award winner Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q) has had success with the comedy The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler, first seen at South Coast Rep and now playing under Bill Rauch's direction at Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Here's how OSF bills the play: "It's the final act of Ibsen's play, and Hedda's just done herself in — again. In hopes of a rewrite, Hedda ventures out on a rollicking quest to liberate her story. She's joined by a quirky collection of other well-loved dramatic characters equally eager to jump off their pages." It's a "mind-bending and riotously funny comedy that will have you questioning your attachment to archetypes, stereotypes — and your own destiny."

Elizabeth Meriwther's Heddatron had a well-reviewed 2006 production directed by Alex Timbers for the innovative Off-Broadway troupe Les Freres Corbusier. Again under Timbers' direction, the play will be produced by Center Theatre Group at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in summer 2009.

Here's how CTG bills it: "Director Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) returns to take on famed playwright Henrik Ibsen and contemporary issues in robotics. Ibsen is thwarted by August Strindberg and his kitchen slut throughout his fevered struggle to write the great feminist drama, Hedda Gabler, while a contemporary housewife in Michigan is abducted by robots and forced to perform Ibsen's masterpieces over and over again. Employing robotic automation and text-to-speech software, Heddatron features a hunky Lovborg-bot, a clunky Tessman-bot, and blinking, smoking, and whirring co-stars who portray Judge Brack, Aunt Julie, and the rest of Ibsen's menagerie."

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