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‘Misery’ Opens on Broadway with Laughs and Broken Bones

For a thriller, the Broadway production of “Misery” sure gets a lot of laughs. And that’s just how the creative team of the show, which stars Bruce Willis in his Broadway debut, likes it.

“I like the laughs,” said Laurie Metcalf, who takes on the role of crazed fan, Annie, that won Kathy Bates an Oscar. “I like knowing that they’re coming, and I like getting them, because I don’t think you expect this play to be so funny.”

Director Will Frears expected it, and thinks it’s part of the story’s appeal. “This show is ‘The Odd Couple’ gone crazy,” he said.

But don’t think this “Misery,” produced by Warner Bros. Theater Ventures and Castle Rock Entertainment, skimps on the physical horror of the movie and the novel that inspired it. Spoiler alert: That memorably gruesome hobbling happens, right there before your eyes.

“When I first got the script, it was all done with projections,” Frears recalled. “I said, ‘If you don’t break his f–ing ankles onstage in front of everyone, they’re going to be furious!’ You have to give people what they’re coming to see, and they’ve come to see those ankles smashed right in front of them.”

Willis spends most of the play either bedridden or in a wheelchair, although he does have one bed-to-floor tumble that recalls his “Die Hard” stunts. “When I don’t land on the pillows, then I really say ouch,” he said.

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