John Lithgow Will Play The Columnist on Broadway in Spring 2012

News   John Lithgow Will Play The Columnist on Broadway in Spring 2012
Tony and Emmy Award winner John Lithgow will star as newspaper scribe Joseph Alsop in the Broadway world premiere of David Auburn's The Columnist, directed by Daniel Sullivan, in spring 2012.

John Lithgow
John Lithgow

Auburn and Sullivan each won the Tony Award for writing and direction, respectively, for the Broadway hit Proof, which was also awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The limited engagement produced by Manhattan Theatre Club will begin previews April 3, 2012, and open April 25 at MTC's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street). MTC first gave wing to Proof Off-Broadway.

Here's how MTC bills the new play: "Columnists are kings in midcentury America and Joseph Alsop (Lithgow) wears the crown. Joe is beloved, feared and courted in equal measure by the Washington political world at whose center he sits. But as the '60s dawn and America undergoes dizzying change, the intense political drama Joe is embroiled in becomes deeply personal as well."

Alsop's column ran in newspapers between the late 1930s and 1974. He was a supporter of the Vietnam War, and wrote about the need for Soviet containment. The New York Times reported in Alsop's 1989 obituary that at the time of his 1974 retirement, he appeared three times a week in 300 newspapers. Over the years, his columns appeared under the titles The Capital Parade and later Matter of Fact.

Lithgow, an actor, author, musician and director, received two Tony Awards — for the 2002 musical The Sweet Smell of Success, in which he played gossip columnist J.J. Hunsecker, and for his Broadway debut in The Changing Room (1973). He has received five Emmy Awards, most recently for his work on "Dexter." He starred in Broadway's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and TV's "Third Rock From the Sun," among many film, TV and stage projects.

In September, HarperCollins will release Lithgow's memoir, "Drama: An Actor's Education." Auburn's plays include The New York Idea (adaptation; Atlantic Theater), Proof (Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award, New York Drama Critics Circle Award), An Upset and Amateurs (EST Marathons), and Skyscraper. His films include "The Girl in the Park" (writer/director) and "The Lake House." His recent directing credits include Michael Weller's Side Effects for MCC and A Delicate Balance for BTF. His short plays have been collected in the volume "Fifth Planet and Other Plays" (DPS).

Additional information for the production will be announced in the coming weeks. Subscriptions to MTC's 2011-2012 season are available online at

Single tickets to The Columnist will be available beginning Sept. 6.

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