Friday, September 28, 2007

Country Girl To Return To Big City

Country Girl To Return To Big City

Will Tony-nominated actors Morgan Freeman and Frances McDormand finally return to the Great White Way?

Although nothing's been formally announced, they're rumored to be the favorites for the leads in the upcoming Rialto revival of Clifford Odets' The Country Girl, which will be directed by Mike Nichols.

Freeman last appeared on Broadway in 1988's The Gospel At Colonus, although it was his portrayal of Zeke in the very short-lived nine performance run of The Mighty Gents in 1978 that earned him his one and only Tony nod. While most audiences know him from his extensive, award-winning work in film, it's to Freeman's enormous credit that he's never forgotten his theatrical roots. In fact, he's acting as the honorary chairman of a $15 million capital campaign for Playhouse on the Square in his hometown of Memphis.

The Academy Award-winning McDormand's last Broadway appearance came in the 1988 revival of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire. Her Tony-nominated performance as Stella was opposite Aidan Quinn's Stanley. McDormand's one other Broadway performance came in another Odets work: the 1984 revival of Awake And Sing! This is one actress that I would travel just about anywhere to see perform on stage.

Despite its name, The Country Girl is a classic showbiz play centering on an alcoholic Broadway actor and his long-suffering wife. The original production enjoyed 236 performances at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre back in 1950-51; legendary actress Uta Hagen earned a Tony in the title role. The play's only revival in 1972 played a mere 62 performances, but boasted a cast including George Grizzard, Maureen Stapleton and Jason Robards, who received a Tony nomination for his work.

Perhaps most famously, the play was turned into a critically acclaimed 1954 film that received seven Academy Award nominations, including for Best Picture and Best Actor (Bing Crosby), but it was the future Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly who won the Oscar for her portrayal of The Country Girl.

With this potentially becoming one of Broadway's hottest revivals, you can bet that I'll be reporting on it further as casting is announced.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 02 October, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Post Script (October 2, 2007): Today it was formally announced that Freeman and McDormand will take the leads, as expected, in The Country Girl revival. Peter Gallagher will join them.

At 02 October, 2007, Blogger Esther said...

Wow, I'd love to see Morgan Freeman. I bet he has a totally commanding presence on stage. And with Peter Gallagher joining the cast, I'm even more excited to see this play!

At 03 October, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

I'm looking forward to seeing both Morgan Freeman and Frances McDormand. I've long admired both of their work.... Morgan from my days as a kid watching "Electric Company" and McDormand from her Oscar-winning turn as Marge in "Fargo."

I've had the good fortune to see Gallagher in the Broadway revivals of Guys And Dolls and Noises Off. He's a terrific actor.


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