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Orphans, Starring Al Pacino Expected on Broadway in Spring 2006

  As previously reported here on BroadwayWorld Al Pacino will star in a Los Angeles workshop of Lyle Kessler's Orphans to take place in September. Today, the New York Post adds to the news, noting that the production will next head to New York this Spring, where it's expected at the Schoenfeld Theatre.

A three-character thriller, Orphans will be produced by Emanual Azenberg, Frederick Zollo, Jeffrey Sine and Ira Pittelman, and directed by Ulu Grosbard (Tony-nominated for The Subject Was Roses and American Buffalo) at the 99-seat Greenway Court Theatre in West Hollywood. Pacino will take on the role of Harold, a shrewd businessman who strategically turns the tables on a pair of orphaned brothers who have kidnapped him.

As with his Salome: A Reading (which he co-conceived and in which he played King Herod) and other plays, Orphans is receiving the traditional treatment of Pacino projects--a long workshop period that may lead up to a commerical Broadway transfer. However, Zollo has stated that while Broadway is certainly a possibility, he and the other producers are taking it one step at a time.

Orphans owes its stature to a production at the then-fledgling Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, although it captured the Drama-Logue Award when it premiered at Los Angeles' Matrix Theatre in 1983. The Steppenwolf staging featured John Mahoney as Harold, and Terry Kinney and Kevin Anderson as Treat and Phillip with Gary Sinise directing the play. Orphans also had productions in New York (though not on Broadway) and London, and a 1987 film starred Anderson, Albert Finney and Matthew Modine.
Kessler is a playwright-actor who also wrote The Watering Place, Possessions, and Robbers.

Film legend Pacino won two Tonys for Best Actor in a Play: for his 1969 Broadway debut in Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?, and for his performance in the 1977 revival of The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel. He has also acted on Broadway in Camino Real, Richard III (the inspiration for his film Looking for Richard), Chinese Coffee, American Buffalo, and Hughie (which he also directed).

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