Around The Town

Broadway Update

George Clooney, Robert Downey, Jr. to Make Their B’way Debuts; Plus More News.

By: David Sheward

March 15, 2024: Film and TV stars including George Clooney, Robert Downey, Jr., Sarah Snook and Darren Criss are announcing their Broadway debuts or returns. Oscar winner Clooney will make his first Broadway appearance in a stage version of Good Night and Good Luck, the 2005 film about pioneering TV journalist Edward R. Murrow and his crusade against the red-baiting tactics of Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s. The script is by Clooney and Grant Heslov, based on their screenplay. Clooney directed the film and played Fred Friendly, the president of CBS News, and Murrow’s boss. David Strathairn played Murrow in the film and was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. In the play Clooney will be playing Murrow and Tony winner David Cromer will direct.

George Clooney in the film version of “Good Night and Good Luck”. Credit:Warner Bros./Allstar

George Clooney, Robert Downey, Jr. to Make Their B’way Debuts; Plus More News.

By: David Sheward

March 15, 2024: Film and TV stars including George Clooney, Robert Downey, Jr., Sarah Snook and Darren Criss are announcing their Broadway debuts or returns. Oscar winner Clooney will make his first Broadway appearance in a stage version of Good Night and Good Luck, the 2005 film about pioneering TV journalist Edward R. Murrow and his crusade against the red-baiting tactics of Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s. The script is by Clooney and Grant Heslov, based on their screenplay. Clooney directed the film and played Fred Friendly, the president of CBS News, and Murrow’s boss. David Strathairn played Murrow in the film and was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. In the play Clooney will be playing Murrow and Tony winner David Cromer will direct.

In a statement, Mr. Cromer said, “Edward R. Murrow operated from a kind of moral clarity that feels vanishingly rare in today’s media landscape. There was an immediacy in those early live television broadcasts that today can only be effectively captured on stage, in front of a live audience.”

Mr. Clooney added, “I am honored, after all these years, to be coming back to the stage and especially, to Broadway, the art form and the venue that every actor aspires to.”

Good Night and Good Luck will open on Broadway at a Shubert house in Spring 2025.

Robert Downey, Jr., who recently won the Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA and Critics’ Choice Awards for Oppenheimer, will make his Broadway debut in MCNEAL, a new play by Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar (Disgraced). Performances begin Sept. 2 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater as part of Lincoln Center Theater’s 40th season, with a Sept. 30 opening for a limited run through Nov. 24. Tony winner Bartlett Sher (LCT’s The King and I, South Pacific, My Fair Lady). 

Oscar winner Robert Downey, Jr.will make his B’way debut in MCNEAL.

Downey will play the title role, Jacob McNeal, a world-famous novelist contending with his alienated son, his latest work, grudges and axes to grind, and the looming specter of Artificial Intelligence. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.

Sarah Snook in The Picture of Dorian Gray. Credit: Marc Brenner

According to Deadline, Emmy winner Sarah Snook (Succession) has signed to recreate her London triumph, a one-woman version of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, on Broadway for a potential Spring 2025 run. Snook won an Olivier Award as Best Actress for this multi-media adaptation of Wilde’s tale of an immoral man whose portrait ages but he doesn’t. She portrays 26 characters. The show by Sydney Theater Company Artistic Director Kip Williams just completed its run at the Theater Royal Haymarket. It first appeared in Sydney in 2020.

Helen J. Shen

Another Emmy winner Darren Criss (American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace) will return to Broadway along with Helen J. Shen (Lonely Few, Teeth) in Maybe Happy Ending, with music by Will Aronson, lyrics by Hue Park and book by both Aronson and Park. Direction is by Tony Award-winner Michael Arden (Parade, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Once on this Island). Maybe Happy Ending will also feature Dez Duron (NBC’s “The Voice”) who makes his Broadway debut along with Shen. The musical begins previews at the Belasco Theater on Sept. 18 in advance of an Oct. 17 opening.

Darren Criss

Inside a one-room apartment in the heart of Seoul, Oliver (Criss) lives a happily quiet life listening to jazz records and caring for his favorite plant. But what else is there to do when you’re a HelperBot 3, a robot that has long been retired and considered obsolete? When his fellow HelperBot neighbor Claire (Shen) asks to borrow his charger, what starts as an awkward encounter leads to a unique friendship, a surprising adventure, and maybe even…love? 

Maybe Happy Ending was written in both Korean and English-language versions. The Korean-language version opened in December of 2016 at DaeMyung Culture Factory in Seoul and subsequently won six Korean Musical Awards including Best Musical. The English-language version was awarded the 2017 Richard Rodgers Production Award and had its U.S. premiere at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta in the 2019-2020 season under the direction of Michael Arden. 

Emmy winner and Tony nominee Holland Taylor (The Practice, Ann) and Theater World Award winner Ana Villafane (On Your Feet) will co-star in N/A, a new play by Mario Correa (Dark Waters, TAIL! SPIN!), chronicling the conflict between the first woman Speaker of the House and the youngest one ever elected to Congress. Tony winner Diane Paulus (Jagged Little Pill, Pippin, Waitress) directs this two-hander at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater with previews beginning June 11 ahead of a June 23 opening. (Note: this is not a Lincoln Center Theater production).

Holland Taylor and Ana Villafane.will co-star in N/A.

The play is described as based on real events, but does not specify who the characters are modeled on. So probably, the N is Nancy Pelosi, twice Speaker of the House, and the A is Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, the representative from Queens and the Bronx, NY who defied Pelosi as she and her colleagues (known as the Squad) pursued an ultra-liberal agenda and Pelosi sought the middle ground in order to get legislation passed. Taylor previously played another powerful political woman in the one-woman play Ann about Texas governor Ann Richards. Full disclosure: Ocasio-Cortez is my Congressperson in Jackson Heights, Queens. It had been Ocasio-Cortez when she was first elected. Then redistricting switched it to Grace Meng. Now after another round of changing boundaries, we have Ocasio-Cortez again.

2023-24 Broadway/Off-Broadway/Awards Calendar (and Beyond)

Spring 2024

May 17–Drama League Awards (Ziegfeld Ballroom)

May 20–Chita Rivera Awards Ceremony (NYU Skirball)

May 23–Outer Critics Circle Awards ceremony (Bruno Walter Auditorium/NY Public Library for the Performing Arts)

May 28–Ben Platt at the Palace

Summer 2024

June 4–What Became of Us (Atlantic Stage 2)

June 5–Home (Roundabout/Todd Haimes)

June 10–Drama Desk Awards (NYU Skirball)

June 10–Theater World Awards (Marquis Theater)

June 12–The Welkin (Atlantic Theater Company)

June 12–Titanic (Encores/City Center)

June 16–Tony Awards (David Koch Theater/Lincoln Center)

June 20–Cats (Perelman Performing Arts Center)

June 23–N/A (Mitzi Newhouse)

July 11–Oh, Mary! (Lyceum)

Fall 2024

Sept. 12–The Roommate (Booth)

Sept. 12–Counting and Cracking (Public Theater/NYU Skirball)

Sept. 24–Vladimir (MTC/City Center Stage I) (previews begin; opening TBA)

Sept. 30–MCNEAL (Vivian Beaumont/LCT)

Oct. 1–Yellowface (Roundabout/Todd Haimes)

Oct. 1–Good Bones (Public)

Oct. 9–The Counter (Roundabout/Laura Pels)

Oct. 10–Our Town (Barrymore)

Oct. 10–Deep History (Public)

Oct. 17–Maybe Happy Ending (Belasco)

Oct. 20–Sunset Boulevard (St. James)

Nov. 8–Gatz (Elevator Repair Service/Public)

Nov. 11–What a Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical (Studio 54)

Nov. 14–Tammy Faye (Palace)

Nov. 25–Eureka Day (MTC/Samuel J. Friedman) (previews begin; opening TBA)

King Lear (Kenneth Branagh Theater Company/The Shed)

Left on Tenth

Romeo and Juliet w/Kit Connor, Rachel Zegler

Winter 2024-25

Jan. 23–English (Roundabout/Todd Haimes Theater)

Feb. 20–Liberation (Roundabout/Laura Pels)

Sumo (Ma-Yi Theater/Public)

2024-25

My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do?)

Romeo and Juliet w.Tom Holland/Francesca Amewudah-Rivers (?)

Smash

Wine in the Wilderness (CSC)

Spring 2025

March 25–Old Friends (MTC/Samuel J. Friedman) (previews begins opening TBA)

April 24–The Pirates of Penzance (Roundabout/Todd Haimes Theater)

Glass. Kill. What If If Only. Imp. (Public)

Good Night and Good Luck

Othello

The Picture of Dorian Gray (???)

Show Boat (Target Margin/NYU Skirball)

Summer 2025

Twelfth Night (Public Theater/Delacorte)

Fall 2025

Initiative (Public)

Future–Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death; Beaches the Musical; Black Orpheus; BOOP! The Betty Boop Musical; Come Fall in Love–The DDLJ Musical; Crazy Rich Asians; Death Becomes Her; The Devil Wears Prada; Ella: An American Miracle; Everybody’s Talking About Jamie; Frida, the Musical; Game of Thrones; The Griswolds’ Broadway Vacation; High Noon; Imitation of Life; The Interestings; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; The Karate Kid; La La Land; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; The Mousetrap; Nancy Drew and the Mystery at Spotlight Manor; Pal Joey; Purple Rain; The Queen’s Gambit; Rear Window; The Nanny; The Normal Heart /The Destiny of Me; The Queen of Versailles; The Secret Garden; Sing Street; Soul Train; Stranger Things: The First Shadow; Working Girl.

2024-25 Broadway Season Breakdown

New Plays

Good Night and Good Luck

Left on Tenth

MCNEAL

Oh, Mary!

The Roommate

New Musicals

Maybe Happy Ending

Old Friends

Smash

Tammy Faye

What a Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical

Play Revivals

English

Eureka Day

Othello

Our Town

Romeo and Juliet

Yellowface

Musical Revivals

The Pirates of Penzance

Sunset Boulevard