Denham replaces Kranz in Al Pacino-led China Doll

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

Producers Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, and Steve Traxler have announced that Broadway alum Christopher Alum has replaced Fran Kranz due to scheduling issues in Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet's new drama China Doll.

Denham joins two-time Tony Award and Oscar winner Al Pacino in the production, which begin previews at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on 21 October 2015, before an official opening on 19 November 2015 and plays a limited engagement through to 31 January 2016.

Denham's Broadway credits include '"MASTER HAROLD"...and the boys' and 'The Lieutenant of Inishmore.' He has also appeared off-Broadway in Roundabout Theater Company's 'The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durin' and Playwrights Horizons' 'Kindness.' His screen credits include "Argo" and "Shutter Island."

In addition, 10 performances have now been added to the limited Broadway engagement, bringing the total up to 97 performances.

According to Mamet, China Doll, which will be directed by Tony winner Pam Mackinnon, is a play about "a wealthy man, his young fiance, and an airplane. The man has just bought a new plane as a wedding present for the girl. He intends to go into semi-retirement, and enjoy himself. He's in the process of leaving his office, and is giving last minute instructions to his young assistant. He takes one last phone call. The characters are Mickey Ross, a billionaire; Carson, the assistant, and a telephone."

He then added: "I wrote it for Al. It is better than oral sex."

Mr Pacino also previously commented: "For me over the years the relationship and the collaboration with David Mamet has been one of the richest and most rewarding. We've done four projects together and the opportunity to create a new character in the David Mamet canon was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. So Dave gave me China Doll, a new play he had written for me and it blew me away - one of the most daunting and challenging roles I've been given to explore onstage. It's a special gift to originate a role in the theatre, especially written by such a formidable writer and I haven't done that in a long, long time."

The creative team for China Doll features scenic design by Tony Award-winner Derek McLane, lighting design by Russell H. Champa, and costume design by Tony Award-winner Jess Goldstein.

China Doll is produced on Broadway by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, and Steve Traxler and marks their tenth presentation of a David Mamet work on Broadway and the West End.

Al Pacino won Tony Awards in 1969 and 1977 for 'Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?' and 'The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel', respectively. He was also nominated in 2011 for 'The Merchant of Venice'. He was last seen on Broadway in David Mamet's 'Glengarry Glen Ross', and other Broadway credits include 'Salome', 'Hughie', 'Chinese Coffee', Mamet's 'American Buffalo', 'King Richard III', and 'Camino Real'. He won an Academy Award in 1993 for 'Scent of a Woman' and has been nominated a further seven times. His many film credits include 'The Godfather trilogy', 'Heat', 'Scarface', 'Angels in America', 'Dick Tracy', 'Any Given Sunday', 'Donnie Brasco' and '...And Justice For All'.

- by Tom Millward

Christopher Denham

Originally published on

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