PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Sept. 14-20: Romeo and Juliet Opens on Broadway, Mr. Burns a Hot Ticket and New Plays Across the Pond

By Robert Simonson
20 Sep 2013

Kathleen Turner
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
Meanwhile, Laurence Fox and Jack Huston will star in Strangers on a Train, which begins performances at the West End's Gielgud Theatre Nov. 2. Craig Warner's new stage show is an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel of the same name, which is best known for the 1955 film version that was directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starred Robert Walker and Farley Granger in the roles of a psychopath and his victim.

In the plot, a seemingly innocent conversation on a train between Guy Haines (Fox), a tennis star trapped in an unhappy marriage, and Charles Bruno, a crazy who hates his father, leads unexpectedly to murder.

The show is directed by Robert Allan Ackerman.

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Kathleen Turner, who has built up solid stage chops over the past few decades, is arguably taking on her most challenging role to date at D.C.'s Arena Stage, where she will play the title role in a 2014 production of Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children.

Additional casting, which was announced this week, will include Rick Foucheux, Meg Gillentine and Nehal Joshi, who join the previously announced Nicholas Rodriguez and Erin Weaver. The production, which will run Jan. 31, 2014-March 9, will be directed by Arena Stage artistic director Molly Smith.

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Playwright Anne Washburn and Playwrights Horizons were handed a critical win this week when Washburn's unusual new work, Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, opened at the Off-Broadway theatre. Critics largely went bananas for the play, which envisions a post-apocalyptic America robbed of all electricity and much of its population, where the characters and plots of "The Simpsons" take on a mythic meaning over the course of several decades. The New York Times called the play "downright brilliant" and a lot of other reviewers agreed, heralding the show inventive, challenging and profound.

Soon after, Playwright Horizons extended the work through Oct. 20.

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Finally, "Sopranos" actor Joe Pantoliano, who was set to play Yogi Berra in the world premiere of Eric Simonson's New York Yankees drama Bronx Bombers at Primary Stages, abruptly departed the production this week. And in the glorious tradition of Shia LeBeouf, he tweeted about his exit. (Full disclosure: the playwright is this writer's brother.) Replacing Pantoliano as Berra is actor Richard Topol. Previews, which were scheduled to begin Sept. 17, were delayed to Sept. 20.