Elaine May, the great writer and actress whose career has spanned more than half a century, will return to Broadway this fall in a production of Kenneth Lonergan’s The Waverly Gallery. She’s been cast opposite returning Lonergan collaborators Lucas Hedges and Michael Cera.
In The Waverly Gallery, making its Broadway premiere 20 years after its first production at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, May will play Gladys, a generous, chatty, and feisty grandmother who’s battling against Alzheimer’s disease. She’s an old-school lefty and social activist and longtime owner of a small art gallery in Greenwich Village; the play explores her fight to retain her independence and the subsequent effect of her decline on her family, especially her grandson (Hedges). The Waverly Gallery was a finalist for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize.
May, a stage icon for her comedy routines opposite the late Mike Nichols, is an acclaimed actress, director, and writer. She’s directed films including The Heartbreak Kid and Mikey and Nicky, and received Oscar nominations for her screenplays of Primary Colors and Heaven Can Wait. In 2016, she acted on-screen for the first time in more than a decade, in Woody Allen’s Amazon series Crisis in Six Scenes. The Waverly Gallery will mark her first Broadway appearance in 58 years, since her 1960 debut An Evening With Nichols and May.
For Cera and Hedges, this is only the latest collaboration with Lonergan. It’s the third play of his in which Cera has starred, a list that most notably includes the recent Broadway production of This Is Our Youth opposite Tavi Gevinson. Hedges made his stage debut in the off-Broadway production of Lonergan’s Yen, and broke out with his Academy Award-nominated performance in Lonergan’s celebrated 2016 film Manchester by the Sea.
Award-winning theater director Lila Neugebauer will helm the production in her Broadway debut. Performances begin on Sept. 25 before an official opening night of Oct. 25, at the John Golden Theatre in New York.