In their first foray into legit, Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy appear to have backed a winner. There is talk of transferring the Off Broadway revival “Hurlyburly,” starring Ethan Hawke, Josh Hamilton and Parker Posey, to Broadway.
The New Group revival of David Rabe’s 1984 play is expected to make its commercial transfer to Broadway or a larger Off Broadway space in the near future.
“We’re having a big conference call today about our next step,” said Marshall, currently filming “Antarctica” in Canada. Kennedy remains in Los Angeles with the Steven Spielberg-helmed “War of the Worlds.”
“Hurlyburly,” directed by Scott Elliott, opened last week to upbeat reviews at the tiny Acorn Theater on West 42nd Street.
Marshall and Kennedy missed Thursday’s preem party for the play. But agents and their actor clients at the Lotus fete already were talking up a potential move for the play, even before the reviews were out. “They’ve got the money behind this show,” an agent said.
New Group exec director Geoff Rich confirmed, “This is the first time (Marshall/Kennedy) has given us commercial enhancement money.”
Marshall and Kennedy are longtime supporters of the New Group. Elliott directed their pic “A Map of the World,” and the Kennedy/Marshall Co. turned the film’s 1999 Gotham premiere into a benefit for the nonprofit theater company.
Marshall is circumspect on subsequent legit ventures for the two filmmakers. “This is a unique experience, because of our relationship with everybody. Maybe we’ll quit while we’re ahead,” he said.
Hawke had been in talks to star opposite Jessica Lange in the upcoming Broadway revival of “The Glass Menagerie,” but he opted instead to do Rabe’s tale of Hollywood ambitions and cocaine.
The world premiere of “Hurlyburly” took place at Off Broadway’s Promenade Theater in 1984. Mike Nichols directed a starry cast including William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Harvey Keitel, Judith Ivey, Jerry Stiller, Ron Silver and Cynthia Nixon. The play later transferred to Broadway, where it ran 343 perfs.
“That was the champagne production,” Rich said. “Ours is the Jack Daniel’s version.”