Playwright Ayad Akhtar has seen his Pulitzer Prize winning play “Disgraced” open in productions around the country and around the world. But the show’s opening on Broadway Oct. 23 was still a bigger deal.
Literally bigger. “We’d never done it for me than 150 people at once!” Akhtar cracked about the play, which in its last New York run was in the 120-seat LCT3.
The Broadway version marks the third time director Kimberly Senior has staged the show — and to her, the third time was the charm.
“Before, every time we finished working on the play, we both felt like we wanted to keep working on it and honing it, like there was this itch we needed to scratch,” she said at the opening night party at the Edison Ballroom. “Now I am itch free!”
Josh Radnor, who like his fellow “How I Met Your Mother” alum Neil Patrick Harris followed up his long-term TV gig with a Broadway run, said Akhtar was a writer whose work he wants to keep following. “He grew up reading a lot of Philip Roth and Saul Bellow and Woody Allen and I think he metabolized what they were doing for the Jewish American experience,” he said. “I feel like he’s trying to do what they did, but for the Muslim American experience, and no one else is really doing that.”
His Broadway gig comes after he starred in a developmental production of Richard Greenberg’s “The Babylon Line” over the summer. He’s loving being onstage — so much so, he promised, that he’s planning to be back on the boards in 2016. “But I can’t talked about that yet,” he added coyly.
Meanwhile, the opening night provided the opportunity for a couple of mini-TV reunions: One for Radnor and “How I Met Your Mother” co-star Cobie Smulders, who saw the show that night, and another for Judith Light and Tony Danza. Sure, those two are now Broadway regulars — she’s a Tony winner and he’s currently starring in the musical “Honeymoon in Vegas.” But when the pair ran into each other at “Disgraced,” it was a flashback to “Who’s the Boss?”