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A Life in the Theatre to have Broadway premiere

A Life in the Theatre, a comedy by David Mamet, the award-winning playwright of 'American Buffalo,' 'Glengarry Glen Ross,' 'Speed-the-Plow,' 'Race' and 'The Cryptogram,' among others, will have its Broadway premiere in the fall of 2010.

The play will be directed by Neil Pepe, who directed the acclaimed revival of Mamet's 'Speed-The-Plow' on Broadway last season.

A Life in the Theatre made its world premiere at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago in Feb, 1977 with Mike Nussbaum and Joe Mantegna and directed by Gregory Mosher. The play first opened off-Broadway on 20 Oct 1977 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre and ran for 288 performances. That production was directed by Gerald Gutierrez and starred Peter Evans and Ellis Rabb.

Mel Gussow of The New York Times said: "Though the work has serious undertones, it is first of all a comedy - and Mr. Mamet's language glistens. His writing is a cross between the elegant and the vernacular, an ironic combination that is uniquely his own...He is an eloquent master of two-part harmony. An abundantly gifted playwright, he brings new life to the theater."

Describing life in the footlights from an actor's point of view, A Life in the Theatre focuses on the relationship between two thespians: Robert, an older, experienced performer; and John, a relative newcomer. Though Robert's guidance is welcomed by John at first, as the play progresses Robert falters as an actor and mentor, and John emerges as a mature actor.

Mamet was inspired to write A Life in the Theatre by what he had observed backstage as well as by his own experiences in his early career as an actor.

A Life in the Theatre will be produced on Broadway by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel and Steve Traxler, the lead producers of the current 'Race' and recent production of 'Speed-The-Plow.'

Said the producers: "We anticipate having two major artists star in the roles originally created in New York by Ellis Rabb and Peter Evans."

A Life in the Theatre premiered on London's West End in 2005, playing at the Apollo Theatre from 27 Jan - 30 Apr 2005. The show starred Patrick Stewart as (Robert) and Joshua Jackson (John), and was directed by Lindsay Posner.

The London production opened to mixed reviews, but Charles Spencer of the Telegraph wrote "Proves funny, affecting and, by Mamet's macho standards, unexpectedly tender."; Michael Billington of the Guardian said "Perfectly enjoyable"; Benedict Nightingale of The Times praised the production saying "Lasts 85 minutes, but, unlike some pieces that are aeons longer, it packs three plays into its short, enjoyable span."; and Peter Brown of wrote "successfully commands the attention of the audience, and it's enjoyable as well as humorous."

David Mamet

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