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Broadway Fall Preview: Power couples heat up the stage

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 Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig will star in Harold Pinter’s ‘Betrayal.’

The play’s definitely the thing this autumn on Broadway. Three-quarters of the upcoming shows are a nonmusical mix of old and new works. The big story: Dynamic duos juice up many of these productions.

The season’s hottest twosome is Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz. The Brooklyn spouses, also known as James Bond and the “Constant Gardener” Oscar winner, lend major movie-star luster and complicated personal history to Harold Pinter’s clear-eyed and ingenious look at a marital affair in “Betrayal” (Nov. 3, Ethel Barrymore). British actor Rafe Spall rounds out the cast in Mike Nichols’ first-class production.

<p> Ian McKellen (l.) and Patrick Stewart will perform in repertory in 'No Man's Land' and 'Waiting for Godot.'</p>

Ian McKellen (l.) and Patrick Stewart will perform in repertory in ‘No Man’s Land’ and ‘Waiting for Godot.’

Not as sexy, but just as intriguing, is the win-win combo of Royal Shakespeare Company vets Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, who’ll toggle between another Pinter drama, “No Man’s Land,” and Samuel Beckett’s existential clown-show classic, “Waiting for Godot” (Nov. 24, Court). “British actors are used to playing in repertory,” notes McKellen. Two American actors who know their way around rep, Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley, will also ping-pong between the two productions.

That’s not the only classic repertory going on this fall. Mark Rylance, a powerhouse at comedy and tragedy, offers his own unique royal duet. The Tony-winning Brit stars as besotted noblewoman Olivia in “Twelfth Night” and the ruthless power-mad monarch in “Richard III” (Nov. 10, Belasco) in the all-male production from London, staged by director Tim Carroll in the manner of the Bard’s day. Look for 100 candles to lend most of the light.

<p> Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad are the ill-starred lovers of 'Romeo and Juliet.'</p>

Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad are the ill-starred lovers of ‘Romeo and Juliet.’

Love burns brightly — but all too briefly — for the fall’s most heart-stirring twosome — “Pirates of the Caribbean” hunk and Broadway rookie Orlando Bloom and two-time Tony nominee Condola Rashad, a standout in “The Trip to Bountiful.” They play the ill-fated lovers in “Romeo and Juliet” (Sept. 19, Richard Rodgers), back on the Great White Way for the first time in 36 years. In director David Leveaux’s take, the text is intact, the setting is contemporary. Also, the Montagues are white, the Capulets are black.

Broadway’s fresh look at Tennessee Williams’ achingly beautiful breakthrough drama, “The Glass Menagerie” (Sept. 26, Booth), comes with its own imaginative interpretation and at least two power couples. One is director John Tiffany and movement specialist Steven Hoggett, of “Once.” Another is two-time Tony winner Cherry Jones, who’ll put her stamp on Amanda Wingfield, and Broadway newcomer Zachary Quinto, who trades Vulcan death grips for Williams’ shattering words, as her conflicted son, Tom. Celia Keenan-Bolger and Brian J. Smith complete the cast.

Dynamic duos don’t always share scenes on stage. Sometimes they involve the collaborative relationship between an actor and a director. In her first Broadway show since wrapping TV’s “Weeds,” Mary-Louise Parker reunites with “Proof” director Dan Sullivan for Sharr White’s World War II-era drama of an embattled family, “The Snow Geese” (Oct. 24, Samuel J. Friedman). And Ethan Hawke stars in “Macbeth” (Nov. 21, Vivian Beaumont), under the direction of Jack O’Brien, who’s guided Hawke through “Henry IV” and “The Coast of Utopia” on the same stage.

Rounding out the season are Rupert Holmes’ adaptation of the John Grisham courtroom thriller “A Time to Kill” (Oct. 20, Golden); a revival of Terence Rattigan’s story of family devotion “The Winslow Boy” (Oct. 17, American Airlines) and the return of Billy Crystal’s Tony-winning solo memoir “700 Sundays” (Nov. 13, Imperial).

<p> The stage version of 'Big Fish' features Kate Baldwin and Norbert Leo Butz</p>

Paul Kolnik

The stage version of ‘Big Fish’ features Kate Baldwin and Norbert Leo Butz

Fall isn’t entirely without song and dance. Adding music to the Great White Way is “Big Fish” (Oct. 6, Neil Simon), based on the novel-turned-movie about a father and son, starring two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz.

<p> Fantasia is part of the revolving cast for 'After Midnight.'</p>

Fantasia is part of the revolving cast for ‘After Midnight.’

“A Night With Janis Joplin” (Oct. 10, Lyceum) brings “Pearl” back to life. And “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” (Nov. 17, Walter Kerr) is a dark comedy set in Edwardian England starring Jefferson Mays, who plays nine characters.

“After Midnight” (Nov. 3, Brooks Atkinson), newly titled since two previous runs at Encores!, is a revue celebrating Duke Ellington’s days at Harlem’s Cotton Club, featuring Fantasia Barrino in the cast of rotating headliners.Costumes are by Isabel and Ruben Toledo, a fashion power couple.


Music & Arts – NY Daily News


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