The new Broadway season has kicked off, and plenty of new shows are generating buzz. With legends of both stage and screen like Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Stephen Fry, Mark Rylance, Fantasia Barrino, Ethan Hawke, Mary-Louise Parker, Billy Crystal and Sirs Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart performing in plays by the likes of Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett and William Shakespeare, it’s gearing up to be a good fall for theater fans in New York. Here are just a few of the notable plays insiders are talking about …
A Time to Kill
Based on John Grisham’s debut novel (and the movie that launched Matthew McConaghay’s career), A Time to Kill is a drama about justice, vengeance and the law in a small Mississippi town. The play stars former senator (and presidential candidate, and Law and Order actor) Fred Dalton Thompson and Tom Skerritt in featured roles. Broadway stalwarts in the play include Sebastian Arcelus in the lead and Tony-winner Tonya Pinkins as the mother of a young crime victim. The play has been in previews for the better part of a month, and opens officially this coming Sunday at the John Golden Theatre.
The names alone are enough to recommend this play: Harold Pinter wrote it. Mike Nichols is directing it. Husband-and-wife Hollywood stars Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz are playing the leads. (We’ve seen Craig onstage before in A Steady Rain, and he has as much power in person as he does on film.) The play is in previews and opens November 3 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
Twelfth Night/Richard III
In Shakespeare’s day, women’s roles were played by men. Fans of the Bard will get a sense of what one of those productions might have been like with this repertory production of one of two of his most popular pieces: Two-time Tony-winner Mark Rylance will play Olivia in Twelfth Night and the (recently discovered) king himself in Richard III. Popular comic actor Stephen Fry also joins the cast. The plays are in previews, and will open November 10 at the Belasco Theater.
The Snow Geese
Tony-winner Mary-Louise Parker is set to star in this new drama about a family dealing with grief during World War I. Currently in previews, the play will open October 24 at the Friedman Theatre.
American Idol’s Fantasia Barrino, TV’s Dulé Hill and Tony-winner Adriane Lenox star in this new musical directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle and backed by nine-time Grammy Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Wynton Marsalis and The Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars. The show, formerly seen at New York City Center under the title Cotton Club Parade, recreates the experience of the iconic Harlem nightclub in the days when Duke Ellington held reign and a new era of music was born. The musical opens November 3 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
Upown at Lincoln Center, Ethan Hawke will star in a new production of Shakespeare’s classic thriller. For the record, this is the fourth major revival of the show in the past five years. The last one just closed on Broadway a few months ago. Jack O’Brien directs, and the play begins previews on October 24.
No Man's Land and Waiting for Godot
Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart will be joined by Tony-winners Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley for a repertory production of Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. (Again, this is one we would see based on name power alone.) Previews begin October 24 at the Cort Theatre.
Growing up in Manhattan’s jazz scene, Billy Crystal only saw his hardworking father once a week. His dad died when Billy was young, so the comedian estimates they only spent 700 Sundays together. His one-man autobiographical play, which was extended several times during its original Broadway run several years ago, earned critical lauds for both the writing and Crystal’s performance. Previews for this revival begin November 5 at the Imperial Theatre.
Tickets for most of these shows can be found at Telecharge.com.