The last year in Broadway theater saw the appearances of names like Scarlett Johansson and Catherine Zeta-Jones not just on stages, but in the same award categories as their Loyal-to-New-York-Theater co-stars. The trending caused our own lead theater critic Michael Feingold to pen an epic screed against the Broadway establishment, “The Response to the Tony Awards Shows That Show Business Is No Longer Business As Usual.” Well, if what we’ve heard over the last week is true, there’s news for Feingold and those of his persuasion: Hollywood isn’t letting up on Broadway any time soon.
Nicole Kidman: We’ve heard she’s being lined up for a revival of Tennessee Williams’s Sweet Bird of Youth. For the record, a 1992 New York Times piece notes the play as one of her favorite roles from the dawn of her career.
Ben Stiller: We hear he’ll be showing up on Broadway this season in John Guare’s House of Blue Leaves.
Samuel L. Jackson and Halle Berry: The ink is reportedly drying on a deal to bring them to Broadway in a production of Katori Hall’s Oliver-nominated play The Mountaintop. Michael Reidel of the New York Post reported on the rumor back in June. Jackson would be playing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Stockard Channing: Going to star in the new Jon Robin Baitz (The Paris Letter, ABC’s Brothers and Sisters) play, Other Desert Cities. It’s going to be directed by Joe Mantello (Wicked), his former partner.
Chris Rock: He’s being brought to Broadway by uber-producer Scott Rudin to star in a project called The Motherfucker Wore a Hat. Rock was at one point rumored to star in last season’s A Behanding in Spokeane, but the role ended up going to Anthony Mackie. Rudin is also rumored to be working on a project with director David Cromer, the guy behind the almost unilaterally-praised Barrow Street Theater production of Our Town, which recently closed.
James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave: Jones is reviving his classic Driving Miss Daisy role alongside Redgrave in a production that starts performances next month.
Al Pacino: The Public Theater put Scarface in The Merchant of Venice (which he also did a recent film version of) at Shakespeare in the Park earlier this summer. It’s moving to Broadway, starts performances next month.
Patrick Stewart and T.R. Knight: Currently lined up for David Mamet’s A Life in the Theater, performances start later this month.
Daniel Radcliffe: Much, much later next year, Harry Potter’s starring in a revival of the Putlizer and Tony-award winning musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying in Winter 2011. Not really “this season,” per se, but worth noting no less.
We’d call around to get a confirmation on these rumors, but — full disclosure: I used to work in theater and film — and Broadway producers are classically trained in the art of lying out of their asses on things like this, so why bother? But the information we’ve drummed up is, via our source, rock solid. If you know anything, we’d be glad to hear more.