Lithgow, Chaplin eye play

NEW YORK — William Nicholson’s new play “The Retreat From Moscow” will advance to Broadway this fall.

John Lithgow and Ben Chaplin are circling the project, with Eileen Atkins already signed on. Producer Susan Quint Gallin confirmed the Atkins casting and said “negotiations are moving forward” with the other two stars. Chaplin would be making his Broadway debut, while Lithgow appeared in tuner “Sweet Smell of Success” in 2002.

“The Retreat From Moscow” takes place over a weekend in which a son tries to prevent his parents from ending their 35-year marriage.

Previews for the play begin Oct. 7, with the world preem set for Oct. 23 at the Booth Theater. Daniel Sullivan (“Proof”) directs. Gallin is producing with Stuart Thompson.

Nicholson’s previous Broadway outing was the 1990 production of his play “Shadowlands,” starring Jane Alexander and Nigel Hawthorne.

Curtains rising this fall

In a nice break from recent tradition, producers aren’t waiting until the spring to bring plays to Broadway. Fall already has a number of confirmed productions. In addition to “Retreat,” they include Martin Tahse’s “Oldest Living Confederate Widow” with Ellen Burstyn (early November at the Longacre) and Richard Greenberg’s “The Violet Hour,” with Robert Sean Leonard (Nov. 6, Biltmore).

Dates and theaters are yet to be announced for David Hare’s “Breath of Life,” with Maggie Smith reprising her West End role, and Richard Alfieri’s “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks,” with Rue McClanahan and Mark Hamill.

Possible contenders, though unconfirmed, are August Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean,” Nilo Cruz’s “Anna in the Tropics” and William Gibson’s “Golda’s Balcony,” which is currently Off Broadway with Tovah Feldshuh.

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