EXCLUSIVE: The latest in a parade of major stars being drawn to the Broadway stage: Ben Stiller and Edie Falco are making deals to star on Broadway next spring in The House of Blue Leaves, a revival of John Guare’s seminal stage play. Mark your calendar for an opening date of next spring, at the Walter Kerr Theatre, with Scott Rudin producing. For Stiller in particular, the stage turn is a homecoming. He made his Broadway debut in the 1986 revival of The House of Blue Leaves, a play that originated off-Broadway in 1971. This time, he’ll play the male lead role of Artie Shaughnessy, a frustrated zookeeper who dreams of making it big as a songwriter. The play takes place in 1965 on a day that Pope Paul VI is visiting New York. Falco will play his wife, Bananas, a schizophrenic who is headed for a mental institution. The play takes place in their Queens home. It is a 60s-centric storyline, with political bombings and the Vietnam War among the plot developments, but the 1986 production won the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Revival.
Stiller originally played Shaughnessy’s son in the first revival when the male lead was played by John Mahoney and the wife was played by Swoosie Kurtz. The young teen auditions for the role of Huck Finn in a Hollywood movie, but the stunts he learned from watching the Ed Sullivan Show get him deemed a “mental defective.”
I’m told the deals will work out for both thesps, but working out time in their schedules is no mean feat. Falco’s currently starring in the Showtime series Nurse Jackie, while Stiller just wrapped Little Fockers. Rudin’s in the middle of launching the David Fincher-directed The Social Network, which is drawing raves after opening the New York Film Festival last Friday night.