Friday, August 01, 2008

Broadway Preview: American Buffalo

Broadway Preview: American Buffalo

Just when you may have thought this fall’s portion of Broadway’s 2008-09 Theatre Season could not have become any more packed -- especially with word that a planned revival of Brigadoon has been postponed due to lack of available theatre space -- comes word that David Mamet’s seminal play American Buffalo will be revived on a Rialto stage for the second time, albeit with no theatre selected.

Contributing toward a bit of a Mamet renaissance, this will mark the second revival for one of his works during the current Theatrical Season alongside the previously announced Speed-The-Plow. A three-hander story of a hatched heist, American Buffalo was initially produced nearly 33 years ago at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. In a bit of serendipity, that Windy City venue’s current artistic director Robert Falls -- a Tony winner in his own right for 1999’s Death Of A Salesman -- will reportedly helm the upcoming revival.

First directed on Broadway by Tony-nominated Ulu Grosbard back in 1977, American Buffalo then starred Robert Duvall as Walter Cole (a/k/a "Teacher"), the late Kenneth McMillan as Donny Dubrow and John Savage as Bobby. That production earned two Tony nominations and enjoyed 122 performances, first at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre and subsequently at the Belasco Theatre.

Six short years later in 1983, the first revival was helmed by Arvin Brown at the Booth Theatre. Al Pacino headlined as Walter Cole, while the late James Hayden initiated the role of Bobby and J. J. Johnston played Donny Dubrow. This production made headlines when Hayden tragically died of a drug overdose shortly into the run. Nominated for the 1984 Tony for Best Reproduction, the play enjoyed a total of 93 performances before closing in February 1984.

According to Playbill, the latest incarnation will include John Leguizamo as Walter Cole, and producers have their sights set on landing comedian Cedric the Entertainer to portray Donny Dubrow. I’ve previously marveled at Leguizamo’s versatility on film (although I confess to not caring much for his one-man performance Sexaholix back in 2001). However, I’m a bit stunned by the hoped-for casting of Cedric the Entertainer. Sure, he's a very funny comic, but does he have the dramatic chops needed for the stage?

Dear readers, please tell me what you see that I’m not getting.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Related Stories:
Broadway Preview: Popcorn (July 28, 2008)
Broadway Preview: West Side Story (July 24, 2008)
Broadway Preview: 9 To 5 (July 16, 2008)
Broadway Preview: Mary Stuart (July 15, 2008)
Broadway Preview: The American Plan (July 14, 2008)
Broadway Preview: Shrek The Musical (July 13, 2008)
Broadway Preview: Waiting For Godot (July 12, 2008)
Broadway Preview: Pal Joey (July 11, 2008)
Broadway Preview: Dividing The Estate (July 10, 2008)
Broadway Preview: 13 (July 9, 2008)
Broadway Preview: Speed-The-Plow (July 8, 2008)
Broadway Preview: Billy Elliot - The Musical (July 7, 2008)
Broadway Preview: Godspell (July 6, 2008)
Broadway Preview: All My Sons (July 5, 2008)
Broadway Preview: A Man For All Seasons (July 3, 2008)
Broadway Preview: To Be Or Not To Be (July 2, 2008)
Broadway Preview: The Seagull (July 1, 2008)
Broadway Preview: Equus (June 30, 2008)
Broadway Preview: A Tale Of Two Cities (June 28, 2008)
Broadway Preview: for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf (June 25, 2008)
Broadway Preview: [title of show] (June 24, 2008)
Broadway: What's Next (June 20, 2008)

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At 08 August, 2008, Anonymous Richard said...

Cedric the Entertainer??!!! That seems odd.

At 08 August, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

That's what they say...

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