While Jerry Seinfeld is headed to Broadway to direct, Ben Stiller is returning to a play that afforded him his stage debut. In 1986, Stiller played the son of the main character in a Broadway revival of the play The House of Blue Leaves. He will now play the father in the latest revival, opposite another Hollywood star, Edie Falco, recently of Sopranos and Nurse Betty.
The play is set in Queens, New York in 1965 while the Pope is visiting New York City. Artie Shaughnessy (Stiller) is a zookeeper with dreams of becoming a songwriter in Hollywood. Artie’s middle class existence conspires to derail these dreams, with a schizophrenic wife named Bananas (Falco) whom he plans to dump in a mental institution called The House of Blue Leaves as he runs off to Hollywood with his downstairs neighbor, Bunny. Apparently there are some nuns involved as well.
The 86 revival won 4 Tony Awards, including direction and one each for the two leads, John Mahoney and Swoosie Kurtz. It was also nominated for the best play award.
The 2011 revival will be directed by David Cromer and produced by Scott Rudin, and will play the Walter Kerr Theatre next spring. Little soon for ticket listings, but they’ll show up on our House of Blue Leaves Tickets page soon enough.