Joe Morton to Play Colin Powell in Hare's Stuff Happens at National Theatre | Playbill

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News Joe Morton to Play Colin Powell in Hare's Stuff Happens at National Theatre American stage actor Joe Morton will play the pivotal role of Bush administration Secretary of State Colin Powell in David Hare’s new political play, Stuff Happens, set to open at London’s National Theatre Sept. 10.
Joe Morton
Joe Morton Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Morton's recent stage credits include Brutal Imagination Off Broadway, Measure for Measure in Central Park, and Without Walls at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. To film audiences, he's known for his roles in "Brother from Another Planet" and "Terminator 2."

Olivier Award winner Alex Jennings will play George W. Bush, with Nicholas Farrell as Tony Blair. About the war in Iraq, the title comes from a phrase in a Donald Rumsfeld/Dick Cheney letter to President Clinton in 1998, which urged America to adopt a new global strategy that should include the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

In a press conference earlier in 2004, NT boss Nick Hytner denied that the play would be explicitly against the war, saying, “It would be a very poor play that didn’t eloquently and passionately occupy both positions.” Hytner himself is to direct and, unlike Hare’s recent documentary-based The Permanent Way, Stuff Happens is fictional, though based on factual events.

Powell's role in the Bush administration has been a conflicted one. He has been far less hawkish than his collegues in the Cabinet, such as Rumsfield, Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, and a philisophical rift reportedly separates him and the President's other advisors. A Powell official recently told GQ magazine that the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would probably opt out of a second term at secretary.

Alongside Jennings and Farrell, the cast includes Adjoa Andoh (as Condoleeza Rice), Desmond Barritt, Isla Blair, Dermot Crowley, Raeda Ghazaleh, Ian Gelder, Ewan Hooper, Iain Mitchell, Philip Quast, Raad Rawi, Larrington Walker and Angus Wright. Christopher Oram designs, with lighting by Paul Anderson and sound by Paul Groothius. The show is part of the Travelex £10 season, with two-thirds of tickets in the Olivier Theatre available for £10. Though the show opens on Sept. 10, previews start Sept. 1. The show plays in repertory until Nov. 6.

For further information, call (0)20 7452 3000, or visit

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