At the age of 20, Ben Stiller made his Broadway debut in the acclaimed 1986 production of John Guare’s The House of Blue Leaves, playing the aspiring-actor son of the tragicomic play’s mismatched central couple, Artie and Bananas Shaughnessy. This spring, Stiller plans to make his second Broadway appearance in a new revival of the very same play, this time as the frustrated zookeeper and wannabe songwriter Artie. Edie Falco, an Emmy-winning stage veteran who last appeared on Broadway in a 2004 revival of ‘night, Mother, will portray the aptly named Bananas. The director will be David Cromer, whose ingenious revival of Our Town is still running Off Broadway (his first Broadway production was last fall’s unfortunately short-lived revival of Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs).
Guare’s show, set in 1965 New York City at the time of Pope Paul VI’s visit to the city, has become something of a modern classic. It was first produced Off Broadway in 1971, and the ’86 Broadway revival was a major phenomenon, earning Tony awards for Swoosie Kurtz (as Bananas) and John Mahoney (as Artie). I can’t wait to see what Falco and Stiller do with the roles. What about you, PopWatchers? How do you think Stiller will fare in live theater after such a long career in the movies?