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Al Pacino headed back to Broadway in new Mamet play

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Al Pacino
Andrew Medichini/AP Photo

After last appearing on Broadway in a revival of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, Al Pacino is headed back to the Great White Way in a new work from the playwright. Pacino will star in Mamet’s China Doll in fall 2015, production company Jeffrey Richards Associates announced on Thursday. Mamet said in a statement that the play concerns “a wealthy man, his young fiancé, and an airplane. The man has just bought a new plane as a wedding present for the girl. He intends to go into semiretirement, 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…” Mamet explained that he wrote it for Pacino and it is, in his words, “better than oral sex.”

Pacino said in a statement that he “couldn’t pass up” an opportunity to create a new character with his frequent collaborator. “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,” Pacino said. “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.”

Pacino and Mamet’s collaborations include the 1983 Broadway revival of American Buffalo and the 1992 movie version of Glengarry Glen Ross. The 2012 revival of Glengarry, in which Pacino took on the more mature role of Shelley Levene, ran during the same season Mamet’s The Anarchist, which closed two weeks after it opened,  what EW deemed “one of the season’s quickest flops.” Mamet also wrote and directed Pacino in the 2013 HBO movie Phil Spector.

China Doll will start performances in October 2015.