RUPERT EVERETT TO STAR IN “WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?” ON BROADWAY
FOR RELEASE ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2019
TWO-TIME TONY AWARD® AND THREE-TIME EMMY AWARD® WINNER
2019 OLIVIER AWARD WINNER
THIS SEASON IN
“WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?”
DIRECTED BY TWO-TIME TONY WINNER
New York, NY (September 11, 2019) – Producers Scott Rudin/Barry Diller/David Geffen announced today that theater and film star Rupert Everett will join two-time Tony Award and three-time Emmy Award winner Laurie Metcalf on Broadway this season in Edward Albee’s seminal and perpetually astonishing drama Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Directed by two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello, and also starring Russell Tovey and 2019 Olivier Award winner Patsy Ferran, the production will begin its strictly limited engagement on Monday, March 3, 2020, with an official opening night set for Thursday, April 9, 2020 at a Shubert Theatre to be announced. Mr. Everett will succeed the previously announced Eddie Izzard, who departs the production due to scheduling difficulties.
Making a rare return to Broadway for the first time in 10 years, Rupert Everett began his acting career on stage in Another Country in London’s West End in 1981. In 2009, he made his Broadway debut in Blithe Spirit, alongside Angela Lansbury and Christine Ebersole. Everett’s additional theater credits include Pygmalion and The Judas Kiss, in the West End. His illustrious film career began with the film adaptation of Another Country, in 1984, before gaining international acclaim for his Golden Globe® award-nominated performance in My Best Friend’s Wedding, alongside Julia Roberts. He received his second Golden Globe nomination as Lord Goring in An Ideal Husband. His additional film credits include Inspector Gadget, The Importance of Being Earnest, Stardust, Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, Hysteria, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and The Happy Prince as Oscar Wilde. Everett has written several books, including Hello, Darling, Are You Working?; The Hairdressers of St. Tropez; and his memoir Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins.
With Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Ms. Metcalf will have the rare distinction of performing major starring roles on Broadway in five contiguous seasons, following Misery; A Doll’s House, Part 2; Three Tall Women; and Hillary and Clinton.
In 1962, when Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? stunned its very first Broadway audiences with its radical, provocative, and unflinching portrait of a marriage, Edward Albee instantly became the most important American playwright of his generation. The New York Times exclaimed that the new work “towers over the common run of contemporary plays.” At that season’s Tony Awards ceremony, the production racked up five wins, including Best Play and lead acting prizes for its two stars: Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill. Just four years later, the iconic film adaptation, directed by Mike Nichols and starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, made Academy Awards® history as the first film to be nominated in every single category it was eligible for (winning for Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design). Nichols and screenwriter Ernest Lehman’s insistence that the film adhere to Albee’s heavy use of profanity created a legendary standoff between the studio and the MPAA. Even the Catholic Church weighed in via its censorship group, which eventually passed the film, deeming it “morally unobjectionable for adults.” It ended up being the first film Warner Bros. ever released “for adults only,” meaning no one under the age of 18 could see the film without being accompanied by an adult. The film’s monumental success, in spite of the controversy, helped establish the modern film rating, though it created a backlash that restricted creative freedom in Hollywood in its immediate aftermath. The film also cemented Albee’s masterpiece forever in the public consciousness. Next spring, a new company of theatrical powerhouses take on this landmark drama nearly sixty years after its legendary Broadway premiere.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? will feature set design by Miriam Buether (currently represented on Broadway by To Kill a Mockingbird), lighting design by nine-time Tony Award winner Jules Fisher & three-time Tony Award winner Peggy Eisenhauer, and costumes by Tony and Academy Award winner Ann Roth.
Mr. Everett is appearing with the permission of Actors’ Equity Association. The producers gratefully acknowledge Actors’ Equity Association for its assistance to this production.
“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is the most shattering drama I have seen since O’Neill’s ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night’. Albee writes like a savage avenging angel, with a sardonic wit accompanying his merciless assault on human culpability.”
— Richard Watts, Jr., New York Post (10/15/62)
“It is three and a half hours long, four characters wide and cesspool deep. If only somebody had taken young Albee out behind a metaphorical wood-shed and spanked him with a sheaf of hickory switches, he might have grown up to the responsibility which should come with his being an uncommonly talented writer.”
— John Chapman, New York Daily News (10/15/62)
“I don’t know who is afraid of Virginia Woolf, but Edward Albee shouldn’t be afraid of anybody.”
– John McClain, New York American Journal (10/15/62)
“An electric evening in the theater. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is possessed by raging demons. It is punctuated by comedy, and its laughter is shot through with savage irony. At its core is a bitter, keening lament over man’s incapacity to arrange his environment or private life so as to inhibit his self-destructive compulsions. ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’ towers over the common run of contemporary plays.”
– Howard Taubman, The New York Times (10/15/62)
“A sick play about sick people. They are neurotic, cruel and nasty. They really belong in a sanitarium for the mentally ill rather than on a stage. The dialogue is vicious and filthy. We loathed it!”
– Robert Coleman, New York Mirror (10/15/62)
“No one will depart unshaken. This play – unnerving, shocking, hilarious and terrifying – is the sum of astounding virtuosity.”
— Norman Nadel, The New World-Telegram and The Sun (10/15/62)
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