On Monday, the Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC) announced principal casting for its upcoming world premiere Broadway production of Nick Whitby's To Be Or Not To Be.
The show will be headlined by Craig Bierko (most recently seen on the Great White Way in the short-lived 2001-02 musical Thou Shalt Not) opposite Jan Maxwell (last seen on a Main Stem stage in 2007's short-lived Coram Boy).
Based on Ernst Lubitsch's satirical 1942 film that took aim squarely at the Nazis, this Casey Nicholaw-helmed dark comedy will begin its limited run at MTC's Biltmore Theatre on September 11, with opening night set for October 2. The play is scheduled to run through December 7.
Considering this play is a send-up of a film that was used to ridicule one of the United States' worst enemies, I find it an interesting coincidence that two of the key dates associated with this production's debut and end (September 11 and December 7, respectively) are dates that will forever live in infamy among Americans. The original flick premiered less than one year after the United States entered World War II (thanks to the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941), and it famously starred Carole Lombard opposite Jack Benny, along with a very young Robert Stack.
MTC's Web site describes the play as follows:
At the Polski Theatre in 1939 Warsaw, Joseph and Maria Tura are about to open yet another smash with their theatrical troupe. As the German invasion gets underway, the theatre is closed by the censors, forcing the troupe to face desperate times. But when a handsome young bomber pilot enlists their help to catch a spy, what is a group of actors to do? This hilarious black comedy is an ingenious commentary on the World War II era and an inspired tribute to the timeless joys of the theatre.With some of the excellent works MTC has produced over the few years, this could be one heck of a production worth seeing.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
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