Last week, I told you about some of the new musicals set to open in New York City this season… this week we turn to the plays! Producers often cast Hollywood stars to help draw a greater audience to the typically less box-office-busting plays compared to the over-the-top-musicals next door. While this might sound like a casting stunt to sell tickets – and let’s face it, sometimes it is – it often can be an opportunity to see some of your favorite actors from the big screen in a much more intimate setting. Some of the big names you can see up close and personal this season include, Al Pacino, Katie Holmes, Paul Rudd, and more…
I’ll start with some classic revivals coming back to Broadway. Cyrano de Bergerac staring Tony Award winner Douglas Hodge, comes to the American Airlines Theater. I am always up for a comedy – and as I remember watching a movie version of this classic years ago, I am looking forward to seeing this great cast bring the story back to the stage. (Performances begin September 14th for a limited run through November 25)
Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is widely regarded as one of the greatest plays of the 20th century. 50 years to the date after its original Broadway opening, this American classic returns to the Great White Way. The Tony Award winning play focuses on the tense and sometimes hilarious crossfire marital war between a college professor and his wife. Presented by the famed Steppenwolf Theater Company, the production will run at the Booth Theater. Personally, I do all I can to avoid conflict, but I’m more than willing to watch the conflict of others from the comfort of my seat in a theater! (Performances begin September 27th) You might not recognize the cast as big stars from the silver screen, but the Steppenwolf ensemble is truly one of the greatest group of actors in the country.
Speaking of stars… Al Pacino will light up the stage in David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize winning play Glengarry Glen Ross this fall, in which we follow the lives of four real estate agents over two days as they stop at nothing to make the sale and win the game between them. Sounds very New York to me! (Performances begin October 16)
Paul Rudd, one of my favorite film actors – known mostly for his comedic work as of late – will lead the new dramatic play, Grace. It centers on a couple as they begin a new life in Florida with plans to open a chain of Gospel motels. (You had me at Gospel motels!!) The wonderful Ed Asner is also a part of the small cast of what is being called an ‘intensely entertaining and suspenseful journey’. I can’t wait to see it. (Performances being September 13 for a limited run through January 6)
The newly single Katie Holmes will be on Broadway in the new Theresa Rebeck comedy Dead Accounts with Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz (Catch Me If You Can, Wicked, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels). It is a story of a brother and sister with a 27 million dollar secret that turns their unexpected reunion upside down. Full disclosure, I think I will always have a crush on Katie Holmes, and Norbert Leo Butz is just a powerhouse in my book, so I’m looking forward to seeing them on stage together this fall. (Performances Begin November 3)
One thing to remember when considering bringing a group to see a show featuring a big Hollywood star: typically, the actor or actresses run is short – and even more so if they are currently preparing to film a movie or are on a television show. For example, Jim Parson’s appearance in Harvey was strictly a summer run because he had to return to Los Angeles to film his TV show The Big Bang Theory. If you are interested in seeing a particular star turn on Broadway, do check the dates carefully!
Turning away from the stars… two of my favorite shows of this past season were Once and Peter and the Starcatcher, both of which I saw Off Broadway before their transfer to larger Broadway stages. Off Broadway shows can be a great way to see new theater at a fraction of the price – and you never know… what you see may just be the next big show of the Broadway season. Next week, I’ll talk about a few exciting Off Broadway shows coming up this season which are ideal for groups coming to New York City!
- Patrick Lynn, Managing Director of Group Travel (and Katie Holmes stalker)