Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rush To Enter The Exit

Rush To Enter The Exit

Just when it seemed as though nothing more absurd could occur on the Great White Way than a dozen shows closing all at once comes word that an Australian revival of Eugene Ionesco's Exit the King will essentially transfer to Broadway this March.

Directed once again by Neil Armfield, the production that graced Sydney's Belvoir St. Theatre will feature Academy Award-winning Aussie actor Geoffrey Rush reprising the title role. But this incarnation will also mark the return to the Broadway boards for Susan Sarandon after 37 years.

UPDATED (1.15.09, 7:35 p.m. EST): Just announced today are the exciting additions of Lauren Ambrose and Andrea Martin. This seals the deal for me. Absurd or not, I'm going!

Exit The King was first (and last) mounted in a Main Stem theatre all the way back in 1968 when it played a mere 47 performances. Its cast was comprised of Patricia Conolly, Richard Easton, Eva Le Gallienne, Nicholas Martin, Pamela Payton-Wright and Richard Woods.

The revival of Exit The King is scheduled to begin previews at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on March 7. The limited engagement will open on March 26 and run through June 14.

If absurdist works are your cup of tea, this will be your year. In addition to Enter The King, Roundabout Theatre Company will stage Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot beginning in April at Broadway's Studio 54. Far from absurd, an amazing quartet of actors -- Bill Irwin, Nathan Lane, John Goodman and David Strathairn -- are set to star.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 13 January, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

geoffrey rush - tony award; bank on it

At 13 January, 2009, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Anonymous, Have you seen his Sydney performance or is this just a strong hunch?

At 14 January, 2009, Blogger Alicia said...

Wonderful cast. STUPENDOUS! I would love to see Susan Sarandon onstage. But I just can't stomach absurdism.

At 14 January, 2009, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

It's not everyone's cup of tea, is it?!

At 14 January, 2009, Blogger Esther said...

Hey Steve,

I was a big fan of Theatre of the Absurd in high school, although I never saw it on stage or on television in those pre-VCR days! So I'm excited about this and "Waiting for Godot." And from what I've read, Rush got some great reviews in Sydney. I just hope I don't see them and then realize that my youthful enthusiasm was all for nothing! ;-(

Btw, did you notice that the original Broadway production ran in repertory with three other plays? I thought that was interesting.

At 14 January, 2009, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther, I do think it's an acquired taste. Would be interested in knowing more about why you're such a fan. Perhaps it will help me appreciate it more.

At 14 January, 2009, Blogger Esther said...

Well Steve, it's getting harder and harder for me to remember back that far. ;-)

Nowadays, I like my drama firmly grounded in the realities of everyday life. But when I was younger, I was really interested in philosophy and cultural history - how artists responded to the events going on around them.

A lot of plays in this genre were written in the aftermath of World War II and in the shadow of the Cold War, with its ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation. So there was a lot of questioning about the meaning of life, the purpose of human existence. Isn't every teenager interested in those things? ;-)

In addition, the plots and dialog were kind of nonsensical. So there was the challenge of figuring out what it all meant. (And I was certain it meant something really big and profound.)

You're right, it is an acquired taste. I'm not sure I'd even like Theatre of the Absurd today. I might find it pretentious and incomprehensible. But both of these revivals have great casts, so I'm hoping it'll be riveting theatre!

At 15 January, 2009, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Thanks Esther. I appreciate your explanation!


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