Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nicole Kidman To Headline Sweet Bird Of Youth Revival

Nicole Kidman To Headline Sweet Bird Of Youth Revival

Yesterday, it was initially reported by New York Post's Michael Riedel (henceforth known here forever as "Dearest Wheedle") that Nicole Kidman would return to Broadway as Alexandra Del Lago (or Princess Kosmonopolis) in the second-ever Rialto revival of Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird Of Youth.

Dearest Wheedle describes the choice role as "an aging, drunken and sexually voracious movie star. The character is one of Williams' great stage monsters."

Later yesterday, The New York Times' Patrick Healy (sorry, no new nicknames I know of for this reliable reporter as of yet) confirmed that the production would move forward in the fall of 2011, adding that it would be under the watchful eye of estimable director David Cromer.

This production will mark Kidman's first Broadway appearance since her notorious debut in The Blue Room (1998-99). If Yank! comes to fruition during Broadway's 2011-12 Theatrical Season, then Cromer will have two major works on the Great White Way next year. As Cromer proved to Chicago audiences earlier this year, he has a gift for pinpointing and illuminating Williams' emotional core.

The first Broadway production of Sweet Bird Of Youth in 1959 was directed by Elia Kazan and starred a 34 year old Geraldine Page opposite the similarly aged Paul Newman as Chance. That luminary cast also included Sidney Blackmer as Boss Finley and such future stars as Bruce Dern, Diana Hyland and Rip Torn. Kazan, Page and Torn would also receive Tony nominations (Torn received a Theatre World Award for his portrayal of Tom Junior). The mounting would enjoy a 375 performance run at the Martin Beck Theatre (now the Al Hirschfeld), opening on March 10, 1959, and lasting through January 30, 1960. Page would go on to earn an Oscar nomination for the 1962 film version.

The first and only Broadway revival of the work came nearly 35 years ago for a very brief 48 performance run at the Harkness Theatre (which was razed in 1977). Edwin Sherin's direction tilted the show with a lopsided disparity in its leads' ages, pitting the 61 year old great Irene Worth opposite a relatively youthful 32 year old Christopher Walken. While the show was short-lived, Worth would earn her second of three Tony Awards.

With such a plum acting role capable of attracting acclaim and laurels, could Kidman see a Tony in her future? Stay tuned around June 2012.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

In keeping with the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations that unfairly discriminate against bloggers, who are now required by law to disclose when they have received anything of value they might write about, please note that I have received nothing of value in exchange for this post.

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At 22 September, 2010, Anonymous Timothy Childs said...

Kidman is an interesting choice here, but I wonder if this will actually come to fruition. I hope so, as Cromer always delivers.

- Timothy Childs


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