Elling: Brendan Fraser and Denis O’Hare on B'way

Film actor Brendan Fraser, star of movies such as, "The Mummy" film series, "Crash," "Dudley Do-Right," "Looney Tunes: Back in Action" and "George of the Jungle" is to make his Broadway debut in the Fall of 2010.

Fraser will star alongside Tony Award-winner Denis O'Hare (Take Me Out), Jennifer Coolidge (The Women) and Tony Award-winner Richard Easton (The Invention of Love), in Simon Bent's Elling, to be directed by Doug Hughes (Doubt).

Elling will open on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on 21 Nov 2010, following previews from 2 Nov and will play a strictly limited engagement through to 20 Mar 2011.

Elling is adapted by playwright Simon Bent from the film "Elling," a screenplay by Axel Hellstenius, which is itself based on the novel of the same name by Norwegian writer Ingvar Ambjørnsen.

Mummy's boy Elling (Denis O'Hare) and his roommate, the uncouth, reluctant virgin 'Kjell Bjarne' (Brendan Fraser), are the Odd Couple of Oslo: a pair of confused souls taking their first steps in the outside world after years of isolated, institutional life. Given a flat in the city by social services, they must re-assimilate themselves into society or face a return to the asylum. So it's simply a question of convincing their social worker that they really are "normal" - even if it does feel safer sleeping in the wardrobe.

Additional casting, the design team and ticket on-sale information is still to be announced.

The play had its world premiere at London's fringe theatre The Bush, before transferring to London's West End where it played at Trafalgar Studios 1 from 6 Jul - 6 Oct 2007. That production, directed by Paul Miller, starred John Simm as 'Elling' and Adrian Bower as 'Kjell Bjarne.'

The show opened to positive reviews: "This variation of The Odd Couple' works like a dream" (Daily Telegraph); "Very touching comedy" (Financial Times); "This is the most blissfully funny and touching evening I've had in the theatre for ages" (Guardian) and "There is no better theatrical tonic in town." (Evening Standard).

The play is to be produced on Broadway by Howard Panter for Ambassador Theatre Group, Bob Bartner, Bill Kenwright, John O'Boyle, Deborah Taylor, Burnt Umber, Bill Ballard/David Mirvish, Finola Dwyer, David Parfitt, Ronnie Planalp and Michael David in association with Bob Boyett.


Brendan Fraser (Kjell Bjarne). Elling marks Brendan's Broadway debut. Theatre: 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,' West End; 'Four Dogs and a Bone,' opened Geffen Playhouse. Film: "Crash," "Gods and Monsters," "The Quiet American," "Furry Vengeance," "Extraordinary Measures," "Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3-D," "The Mummy trilogy," "Inkheart," "Bedazzled," "Blast From the Past," "Dudley Do-Right," "George of the Jungle," "The Encino Man," "School Ties," "With Honors," "Airheads" and "The Scout."

Denis O'Hare (Elling). Broadway: 'Inherit the Wind,' 'Sweet Charity,' 'Assassins' (Tony Award nomination), 'Take Me Out' (Tony Award), 'Major Barbara,' 'Cabaret,' 'Racing Demon.' Film: "Edge of Darkness," "The Proposal," "Duplicity," "An Englishman in New York," "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men," "Milk," "Quarantine," "Changeling," "Baby Mama," "Pretty Bird," "Charlie Wilson's War," "Awake" and many more. Television: "True Blood," "CSI: Miami," "The Good Wife," "Brothers and Sisters," "Once Upon a Mattress," "Law & Order," "100 Centre Street," "Hamlet."

Jennifer Coolidge (Reidun Nordsletten, Gunn, Johanne and Poet). Broadway: "The Women". Film: "American Pie 1, 2 and 3," the Christopher Guest films "Best in Show," "A Mighty Wind" and "For Your Consideration," "A Cinderella Story." "Legally Blonde," "Robots," and more. Television: "Joey," "King of the Hill," "Thank God You're Here, "The Closer," "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," "Friends" and "Seinfeld."

Richard Easton (Alfons Jorgensen). Broadway: 'The Coast of Utopia,' 'The Rivals,'' Henry IV,' 'The Invention of Love' (Tony Award), 'Noises Off,' 'Exit the King,' 'The Misanthrope,' 'The Cherry Orchard,' 'Hamlet,' 'Cock-a-Doodle-Dandy,' 'Back to Methuselah,' 'The Country Wife,' 'School for Scandal.' Films: Revolutionary Road, Henry V, Dead Again, Finding Forester. TV: Six years of BBC's "The Brothers," PBS's Emmy-winning "Benjamin Franklin" (title role) and the upcoming HBO mini-series "Mildred Pierce."

Simon Bent (Playwright) studied Drama at Birmingham University and started his theatrical career as an actor. He was writer in residence at both the University of Essex and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Many of his early plays, which he also appeared in, were toured extensively, including 'Wigan Kiss,' 'Banjaxed,' 'Bombers' and 'Mash,' 'The Home Front' and 'Moll Flanders.' His most recent stage work includes 'Prick Up Your Ears,' inspired by John Lahr's biography and the diaries of Joe Orton, and 'Elling,' based on the Norwegian novel and film. Simon has also written for film and television, most notably the BAFTA nominated screenplay Christie Mallory's "Own Double Entry," adapted from the novel by BS Johnson.

Doug Hughes (Director). Broadway: upcoming "Mrs. Warren's Profession." Recent Broadway productions include 'A Man for All Seasons,' 'The Royal Family,' 'Oleanna,' 'Mauritius,' 'A Touch of the Poet,' 'Inherit the Wind,' 'Doubt' and 'Frozen.'

Brendan FraserDenis O'Hare

Originally published on

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