America needs to laugh more than ever now, and Noises Off, the Broadway version of the current hit London revival, aims to lighten sadness, beginning previews Oct. 16 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
Phone sales have been ongoing, but the box office opens Sept. 21 for in person sales for the Michael Frayn farce about theatre people and their backstage foibles. Official opening is Nov. 1.
Patti LuPone and Peter Gallagher star in the Jeremy Sams directed staging. Tony Award-winners Richard Easton (The Invention of Love) and Faith Prince (Guys and Dolls) join in the merriment.
Easton (as Selsdon Mowbray) and Prince (as Belinda Blair) co star with LuPone (as Dottie Otley) and Gallagher (as Lloyd Dallas) in the new production of the play-within-a-play. Jeremy Sams recreates his London direction, and Frayn has revised his 19-year-old script.
The Broadway mounting of Frayn's breakneck backstage farce — about the staging of a theatrical farce — will also include Edward Hibbert as Frederick Fellowes, Katie Finneran as Brooke Ashton, T.R. Knight as Tim Allgood, Thomas McCarthy as Garry Lejeune and Robin Weigert as Poppy Norton-Taylor. Sams helmed the 2000 Royal National Theatre staging, which toured the UK earlier this year before sitting down for its current commercial run at the West End's Piccadilly Theatre.
Broadway producers are The Ambassador Theatre Group, Ltd., Act Productions, Ltd., Waxman/Williams, USA OSTAR Theatricals and Nederlander Presentations Inc.
Frayn's comedy, still remembered for literally having people laugh themselves out of their seats, had a popular, Tony Award nominated run on Broadway in the 1983-84 season. It has become a favorite in stock, regional, university and amateur theatres.
The 1982 farce (first seen in London) concerns a fifth-rate British theatre company putting on a tired sex farce called Nothing On, in provincial theatres. Frayn gives us a view of both the backstage antics of the troupe and the on-stage performance of farce they are playing. The play's title is a theatrical term referring to offstage sound effects, usually made by the actors themselves.
Tony Award-winning LuPone, a genuine Broadway star from such stagings as Evita, Anything Goes and Master Class, plays a faded TV comedienne who is playing a housemaid in the play-with-the-play. Gallagher, known for the film, "sex, lies and videotape," and the most recent Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls (with Prince), was a Tony Award nominee for Best Featured Actor (Play) in 1986's Long Day's Journey Into Night. He plays the egotistical director, Lloyd. LuPone and Gallagher appeared together in the Encores! concert revival of Pal Joey and in a concert production of Annie Get Your Gun.
The first Broadway run of the intensely clever show — which had a Playbill within the Playbill to tell of the hilarious history of the fictional folk putting on Nothing On — also played the Brooks Atkinson.
Frayn won the 2000 Tony Award for his play, Copenhagen. Noises Off was nominated for a Best Play Tony Award. The original London run of the play spanned 1982-1987. The Broadway staging played 553 performances. Former New York Times critic Frank Rich wrote, "Noises Off was, is, perhaps always will be the funniest play written in my lifetime." A film version starred Carol Burnett.
Noises Off designers are Robert Jones (set and costumes), Tim Mitchell (lighting) and Fergus O'Hare (sound). Gallagher and LuPone had been mentioned as likely for the roles in industry reports.
Tickets range $40-$75. Call (212) 307-4100 or visit the box office.