Huffpo has it, that Zach Braff will make his Broadway debut in 2014 in Bullets Over Broadway, a stage adaptation of Woody Allen’s 1994 crime comedy film. Braff will play the role played in 1994 by John Cusack, that of David Shayne, an idealistic young playwright who hires a talentless actress to gain mob funding for his new show. He finds himself lying and cheating, morally compromised, and unprepared for what it means to be a Broadway neophyte, all while working toward his big open.
If you haven’t see the film, see it. It is as funny and witty as you would expect from Allen, with quality performances from Mary-Louise Parker, Dianne Wiest (who won an Oscar for her performance), and Rob Reiner, among others. It’s actually probably the best thing that Allen wrote or directed in the nineties.
I think that scene best illustrates the point I want to make is that as funny as it was on film, the nature of the writing is such that Bullets Over Broadway has the genuine potential to be an even better play, and that’s no mean trick. But I think that it could happen. The show will be directed by Susan Stroman, who has five Tonys strapped under her dancebelt, four for choreography and one for directing The Producers, whose six-year Broadway run opened in 2001 at the St. James Theatre.
Braff and the rest of the cast will similarly open at the St. James on March 11, 2014. I’m looking forward to Braff’s performance in particular, as the jump from film to the Broadway spotlight has always piqued my interest. For example, when James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) were cast in A Steady Rain, I dutifully bought tickets and watched as the two of them revealed largely unknown acting talents. Wolverine, for example, earned himself a 2004 Tony for Leading Actor in a Musical for The Boy From Oz. Craig, for his part, has starred at the Old Vic, The Royal Court Theatre, and the National Theatre, and so is not without experience or pedigree. And they are not above heckling you if you let your phone ring.
But, back to my point, Braff isn’t without his own theatrical talent. Braff was active in the New York theatre scene, acting at the Public Theatre in 2002, and he was onstage at the Second Stage Theatre as recently as 2010. He has also written a play, All New People, that has toured all over the UK, including Manchester and Glasgow. He’s got all the necessary chops to jump back into acting and make his Broadway debut. You can’t see it, but I’m squealing like a little girl.
So, to sum: Zach Braff. Woody Allen. St James Theatre. March 2014. Fabulous. See you there!