Testing the waters for a Broadway return after 13 years, actor and rocker Kevin Bacon (X Men, Cop Car) is heading to Hartford this fall to take on an iconic James Stewart role in the world premiere of Rear Window. Adapted for the stage by playwright/actor Keith Reddin and directed by Hartford Stage chief Darko Tresnjak, the show is slated to run from October 22 through November 15. Producers Charlie Lyons, Jay Russell and Jeff Steen are attached.
Bacon last appeared on Broadway in 2002 in An Almost Holy Picture, and long before that with Sean Penn in 1983’s The Slab Boys, a transfer from off-Broadway, where the charismatic actors both made their early marks. Tresnjak, one of the hottest stage directors working today, brought his Hartford production of A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder to Broadway, where it won four Tony Awards, including for best musical and best direction of a musical in 2014; it’s still running at the Walter Kerr Theatre.
“I read Cornell Woolrich’s classic crime story Rear Window in high school, and it made a lasting impression,” Tresnjak said in announcing the production. Woolrich’s short story was the basis of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 thriller starring Stewart, Grace Kelly and Raymond Burr. It’s about a photojournalist confined to his Manhattan apartment after an accident who becomes convinced he’s witnessed a murder in a nearby building.
“I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to direct a stage version thirty years later,” Tresnjak added, “when the issues of surveillance and voyeurism have become even more pertinent. Keith Reddin’s taut adaptation takes place inside of a sweltering, claustrophobic apartment, very much like the addled brain of the leading character, who will be played by Kevin Bacon. I can’t imagine finer collaborators than Kevin and Keith in exploring the terrifying psychological landscape of this timeless thriller.”
(That said, one can only hope the show will have the sexy sense of humor Hitchcock and screenwriter John Michael Hayes brought to the film, which also focused on the sparring romantic relationship between Stewart and Kelly, and Stewart’s not-so-innocent Peeping Tom obsession with a sensuous and apparently quite popular dancer played by Georgine Darcy.)
“Kevin and I have been friends and collaborators for decades,” Russell said in the announcement, “and we’re thrilled he’s taking on this iconic role.” Lyons added that “Kevin’s award winning body of work is unparalleled, a leading man who creates memorable characters.”
Bacon moonlights as a performer with The Bacon Brothers, a terrific blues and rock band that recently played Las Vegas. Previews of Rear Window begin October 22, with an official opening set for October 30 and the final performance on November 15. Cast and other credits will be announced later.