Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones and Bobby Cannavale will return to Broadway next fall to star in the world premiere play The Lifespan of a Fact. Based on the critically acclaimed, bestselling 2012 non-fiction book about fact, fiction and blurred lines, Lifespan will be directed by Leigh Silverman, a 2014 Tony nominee for her direction of Violet.
The Lifespan of a Fact will begin performances at the Studio 54 on Broadway theater Thursday, September 20, with an opening night of Thursday, October 18. The limited engagement will run for 16 weeks.
Written by Jeremy Kareken & David Murrell and Gordon Farrell, the play is based on the book by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal that detailed their own real-life journalistic investigation into the suicide of a Las Vegas teen.
As described by the production, Lifespan “is based on the stirring true story of John D’Agata’s essay, ‘What Happens There,’ about the Las Vegas suicide of teenager Levi Presley. Jim Fingal, assigned to fact check the piece, ignited a seven-year debate on the blurred lines of what passes for truth in literary nonfiction.”
Some background: In 2003, D’Agata submitted his essay “What Happens There” to Harper’s Magazine, where recent Harvard grad Fingal was assigned to fact-check the piece. Harper’s later pulled the article from publication after Fingal’s research turned up factual errors and inaccuracies.
After seven years of discussion and correspondence between D’Agata and Fingal, the author re-submitted the piece to The Believer magazine. D’Agata and Fingal co-wrote the 2012 book The Lifespan of a Fact about the experience, a book that includes “What Happens There” in full, complete with Fingal’s red-line comments and correspondence with D’Agata.
The book was named Best Book of the Year by the Huffington Post, a Top 10 Most Crucial Book of the year by Slate and an Editor’s Choice by The New York Times Book Review.
In the new play, Radcliffe will play Fingal, Cannavale will play D’Agata and Jones will play Fingal’s boss. As the production describes, Fingal “has a huge problem: John made up some of his article. Well, a lot of his article. OK, actually, maybe the majority of it? What starts professional quickly becomes profane as one question rises to the surface: Can Jim Fingal ever just shut the fact up?”
The production’s creative team – sets, costumes, lighting, sound and projections – has yet to be announced.
The Lifespan of a Fact will be produced on Broadway by Jeffrey Richards, Norman and Deanna Twain, Will Trice, Barbara Freitag, Eric Falkenstein, Carl Moellenberg/Wendy Federman, Ken Greiner, Van Kaplan, and Caiola Productions. Though set for the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Studio 54 facility, the play is not a Roundabout production.
Though of course best known for leading the Harry Potter movie franchise, Radcliffe is not stranger to the stage, including the 2016 sold-out run of Privacy at The Public Theatre in New York, and the 2013 West End production of The Cripple of Inishmaan (which moved to Broadway). Other notable stage credits include 2011’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on Broadway.
Jones (Transparent) recently made her West End debut in The Glass Menagerie, and has extensive stage credits including Tony-winning performances in The Heiress and Doubt.
Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire, Vinyl) also has extensive stage credits, including Tony-nominated turns in 2007’s Mauritius and 2011’s The Motherf*cker With The Hat.
The playwrights will be making their Broadway debuts with the production.
Tickets for The Lifespan of a Fact go on sale to the general public June 22, with earlier dates for American Express Card Members and Audience Rewards members.