I've read it so many times that I was almost beginning to believe it was true: that revivals of David Mamet works have long since become perennial events on Broadway.
Well, it isn't necessarily so.
Sure there was that Tony Award-winning Best Play Revival of Glengarry Glen Ross in 2005. But it wasn't really until the very recent 2008 Broadway revival of Speed-The-Plow that the Mamet machine really swung into gear. And summarily got stuck. Just weeks later, the blink or you'd miss it revival of American Buffalo largely opened to pans. In 2009, a revival of Oleanna opened to more receptive acclaim.
Now comes only the fifth Mamet revival of the last decade.
Frequent Mamet collaborator Neil Pepe is set to direct A Life in the Theatre with Patrick Stewart and T. R. Knight star as Robert and John, respectively -- two stage actors in a power struggle. Stewart is no stranger to the play, having performed as Robert on the West End opposite Joshua Jackson in 2005.
Although it has seen life in London and Off-Broadway, A Life In The Theatre has never before been mounted on Broadway. Until now. The official Web site describes the 33 year old play as follows:
A Life In The Theatre will be making its Broadway premiere. The play made its world premiere at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago in February of 1977 with Mike Nussbaum and Joe Mantegna and was directed by Gregory Mosher. The play opened off-Broadway on October 20, 1977 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre and ran for 288 performances. That production was directed by Gerald Gutierrez and starred Peter Evans and Ellis Rabb.Stewart, of course, is one of the foremost actors on either side of the Atlantic, and his participation alone would be enough to entice me to see A Life In The Theatre. But having witnessed Knight's impressive acting range on stage as both an amazing Amadeus Mozart in Amadeus and as Tim in Noises Off! -- both before he ever became known to television audiences as Dr. George O'Malley -- I can honestly say that I'm every bit as anxious to see him perform as I am his co-star.
Describing life in the footlights from an actor’s point of view, A Life In The Theatre focuses on the relationship between two thespians: Robert, an older, experienced performer; and John, a relative newcomer. Though Robert’s guidance is welcomed by John at first, as the play progresses Robert falters as an actor and mentor, and John emerges as a mature actor. Mamet was inspired to write A Life In The Theatre by what he had observed backstage as well as by his own experiences in his early career as an actor.
Previews begin at Broadway's Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on September 21, with opening night set for October 12, 2010. The limited run will conclude on January 2, 2011.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
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