WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? Announces Broadway Closing

By: Mar. 21, 2020
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The producers of the Broadway revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? announced today that the production will not open when Broadway resumes performances, due to ensuing cast scheduling conflicts amid the shutdown.

Directed by Joe Mantello, the production, which was previously set to open on Broadway on Thursday, April 9 at the Booth Theatre, starred Laurie Metcalf as Martha, Rupert Everett as George, Patsy Ferran as Honey, and Russell Tovey as Nick.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was produced by Scott Rudin / Barry Diller / David Geffen, and played 9 previews at The Booth Theatre.

In 1962, when Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? stunned its very first Broadway audiences with its radical, provocative, and unflinching portrait of a marriage, Edward Albee instantly became the most important American playwright of his generation. The New York Times exclaimed that the new work "towers over the common run of contemporary plays." At that season's Tony Awards ceremony, the production racked up five wins, including Best Play and lead acting prizes for its two stars: Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill. Just four years later, the iconic film adaptation, directed by Mike Nichols and starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, made Academy Awards® history as the first film to be nominated in every single category it was eligible for (winning for Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design).

Nichols and screenwriter Ernest Lehman's insistence that the film adhere to Albee's heavy use of profanity created a legendary standoff between the studio and the MPAA. Even the Catholic Church weighed in via its censorship group, which eventually passed the film, deeming it "morally unobjectionable for adults." It ended up being the first film Warner Bros. ever released "for adults only," meaning no one under the age of 18 could see the film without being accompanied by an adult. The film's monumental success, in spite of the controversy, helped establish the modern film rating, though it created a backlash that restricted creative freedom in Hollywood in its immediate aftermath. The film also cemented Albee's masterpiece forever in the public consciousness. Next spring, a new company of theatrical powerhouses take on this landmark drama nearly sixty years after its legendary Broadway premiere.


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