Katie Holmes and Jim Parsons Will Lead Broadway Revival of ‘Our Town’

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The first Broadway production in nearly 25 years of Thornton Wilder’s classic play Our Town will open in September, featuring a raft of stars of stage and screen, including Katie Holmes, Jim Parsons, Richard Thomas, Zoey Deutch, Billy Eugene Jones, Julie Halston, Ephraim Sykes, and Michelle Wilson.

The much-loved and performed play—about life in the town of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, between 1901 and 1913—was first performed in 1938, and received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama that year. Its 1988/89 Broadway revival received a Tony Award.

Kenny Leon will direct the 28-strong cast in the new revival, in which Parsons will play the Stage Manager/narrator, with Holmes as Mrs. Webb, Thomas as Mr. Webb, and Deutch as Emily Webb.

In a statement, Leon said: “Thornton Wilder’s Our Town—in my mind stands at the top of the Mount Rushmore of great American Theatre. I feel blessed and fortunate to have gained the trust of The Wilder estate to present this classic to another generation of theatre lovers. It’s long been a burning desire to collaborate on a Broadway production of such magnitude that speaks so beautifully and intimately to all people about our shared time on the planet.”

Speaking for the Wilder family, the playwright’s nephew, Tappan Wilder, said in a statement: “Shortly before the Broadway opening of Our Town in 1938, my uncle, Thornton Wilder, described it to the press in these words: ‘You might say that it is a kind of an attempt at a complete immersion into everything about a New Hampshire village which, I hope, is gradually felt by the audience to be an allegorical representation of all life.’ In the first twenty months after the Broadway production closed, his drama about living and dying in the fictional town of Grover’s Corners, with a minimal set of tables, chairs, and a ladder, would be performed in 658 American communities—in 47 of the then 48 states—as well as in four Canadian provinces and several European countries.

“This universal embrace of the play has never ended. Even now, Our Town, with its message about the transcendent value of our growing up, our living, and our dying, is performed at least once every day somewhere in the world. Its ‘allegorical representation of all life’ really does unite us all. I got to know the play on an intimate level for the first time in 1955, when, as a high school freshman, I played Professor Willard on a postage-stamp-sized stage in our gymnasium. The responsibility of performing my uncle’s words left me a frightened puppy. Almost seventy years later, I am once again frightened, but not from stage fright. We live in a dangerously fractured world. It’s hard for us to recognize the experiences we all share: life, death, love. Which means that it’s a good thing that my uncle’s play is back on Broadway, with its timely reminder that we all live together in our town.”

Previews of Our Town will begin at the Barrymore Theatre on Sept. 17, with opening night set for Oct. 10.

This post was originally published on Daily Beast

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