Because it’s never too early to start booking big-name stars for Broadway stints, the Roundabout Theater Company has set Ewan McGregor to make his Main Stem debut in its revival of “The Real Thing,” now set to open at the American Airlines Theater in October 2014.
Show was shifted from its previously scheduled spring slot at the American Airlines, one of the Roundabout’s three Broadway theaters. No title has been confirmed to replace “Real Thing” this season, but industry types have been working to fill the gap with a production of “Violet,” with Sutton Foster (“Anything Goes”) reprising the title role she played in Jeanine Tesori’s 1997 tuner in a much-lauded City Center Encores! presentation in July. Those details have yet to be locked in, but the title remains a good candidate to fill the slot.
McGregor, currently filming “Mortdecai” with Johnny Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow, has never appeared on a New York stage, although he won raves for his legit work in London in the Donmar Warehouse’s revival of “Guys and Dolls” in 2005 and in a 2007 Donmar production of “Othello” (in which he starred opposite Chiwetel Ejiofor).
Actor is the latest movie name to be drawn to the boards: Tom Hanks made his Rialto debut last season, while Daniel Craig returned to the Main Stem this season with the current sales juggernaut “Betrayal,” and Denzel Washington will be back in the spring with “A Raisin in the Sun.” Celeb-driven play revivals have become one of the more reliably profitable production models on Broadway, with demand maximized by the limited runs often dictated by stars’ busy schedules.
As a nonprofit, the Roundabout grapples with a different set of fiscal demands compared to commercial producers, but McGregor’s stint nonetheless seems poised to bring the theater company additional coin and buzz next season.
Tom Stoppard’s 1982 work “The Real Thing,” a play-within-a-play about a married playwright and the woman he falls for, hasn’t been on Broadway since 2000, in a transfer of a Donmar staging that starred Stephen Dillane and Jennifer Ehle. Sam Gold (“Seminar”) remains on board to direct the upcoming revival.
The current occupant of the American Airlines, the Roundabout’s production of “The Winslow Boy” starring Roger Rees, wraps up its run Dec. 1. Next up at the venue, “Machinal,” toplined by Rebecca Hall, starts perfs later that month and is scheduled to close in early March.
“The Real Thing” begins previews Oct. 2 prior to an Oct. 30, 2014, opening at the American Airlines. Production is skedded to end its limited run there Jan. 4, 2015.