Fall Arts Preview: The Season’s Top 10 New Plays

‘Dead Accounts’ star Katie Holmes

The Heiress

Walter Kerr Theatre

Opens November 1

Taking over the role of Olivia de Havilland and Cherry Jones? That’d be ultra-fast-rising starlet Jessica Chastain, who, like Paul Rudd, is taking a break from her prolific film career to portray Catherine Sloper. Catherine, originally a character in Henry James’s novel Washington Square, possesses that Jamesian fragility, shyness, and moth-to-flame attraction to callous villains; the character is set to inherit an enormous fortune, but is so taken aback at the love of a churlish fellow that she may just squander it all. Ms. Chastain’s Broadway debut will be watched closely by all those who love and/or envy her, but with support including castmate David Straitharn and director Moisés Kaufman, Ms. Chastain may not return to her day job anytime soon.


Palace Theatre

Opens November 8

Little girls of New York, begin beseeching your parents for tickets. After a long search, the producers of what may become the season’s most lucrative revival found their girl–preteen brunette Lilla Crawford is to strap on the red wig and belt out “Tomorrow” in the latest Annie. Though it’s toured the U.S. frequently, the saccharine show hasn’t been seen on Broadway since its 1997 revival. It’s not entirely for kids: James Lapine, a frequent collaborator of Stephen Sondheim’s, is to direct the production, while two-time Tony winner Katie Finneran assays the role of Miss Hannigan. Ms. Crawford, get former red-wig-wearer Sarah Jessica Parker on the phone to discuss how to be deal with newfound fame!

Glengarry Glen Ross

Schoenfeld Theatre

Opens November 11

Al Pacino, who starred in the film production of Glengarry Glen Ross as young, robust Ricky Roma, is showing his age: he’s coming to Broadway this season as Shelley Levene. Levene, scholars of David Mamet will surely recall, is the once-great real estate salesman who has grown unable to generate good leads (much as an actor of Al Pacino’s caliber has, for years until just now, been unable to get a lead on a role that required much more than senseless bellowing). The cast is rounded out by the high-toned likes of Bobby Cannavale and Richard Schiff; the “Coffee’s for closers” monologue is from the film and not the play, but we can dream it’ll be included.


Broadhurst Theatre

Opens November 18

Daphne du Maurier via Alfred Hitchcock via Christopher Hampton! The well-loved playwright and screenwriter has adapted into English the book of a musical that played Vienna in the mid-2000s, recounting the twice-told tale of a second wife who must confront the ghost of her new, controlling husband’s former wife. As in du Maurier’s novel, the naive protagonist is never named but for “I”; Jill Paice is to attempt to make a name for herself in the role. The directors are about as prestigious as Mr. Hampton; Michael Blakemore won two Tonys for directing a play and a musical in the same year back in the day, while Francesca Zambello is an opera director with, one presumes and hopes, a flair for the dramatic.

Dead Accounts

Music Box Theatre

Opening Date November 29

When we think about Broadway’s breakout ingenues of the past decade, our minds don’t immediately leap to Katie Holmes’s turn in All My Sons in 2008. She was… fine? Certainly her time in New York, and exposure to paparazzi therein, engendered a high-water mark in the sales of “boyfriend jeans” nationwide. But the stage is apparently a safe place for Ms. Holmes, as it’s to Broadway she returns for her first new role post-extremely-notable-divorce. The midwestern woman trying to start over while living with her parents is to play a midwestern woman trying to start over while living with her parents. Well, Ms. Holmes is from Toledo and her character’s from Cincinnati. And her parents, we read, are in off and on. No matter–the play’s by super-prolific Theresa Rebeck, and could allow for a Kidmanian career renaissance.

The Anarchist

Lyceum Theatre

Opens December 2

A new work on Broadway playing blocks away from a revival of his best-loved work, and a daughter who’s one of those TV Girls? Could things get sweeter for David Mamet? Well, there was the little matter of actress Laurie Metcalf dropping out of the role of a women’s-prison warden in The Anarchist, the newer of his two currently produced plays–but no matter. Debra Winger removed herself from exile to drop in for the role, and Patti LuPone, playing a radical prisoner pleading for her own parole. Mr. Mamet’s neoconservative bent may well inform just how we see the role of the anarchist played out onstage, but we’d forgive Mr. Mamet anything!


Fall Arts Preview: The Season’s Top 10 New Plays