Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon will star in a Broadway revival this May of Terrence McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, producers announced today. The production will be directed by Obie Award winner Arin Arbus in her Broadway debut.
The 16-week revival, described as a strictly limited engagement, will begin previews in May at a Shubert Organization theater to be announced. The engagement will be produced by Hunter Arnold, Debbie Bisno and Tom Kirdahy, and marks McNally’s 80th birthday.
First produced Off Broadway in 1987, McNally’s two-hander romance arrived on Broadway for the first time in 2002 in a production directed by Joe Mantello and starring Edie Falco and Stanley Tucci as the lonely waitress and short order cook whose one-night stand turns (possibly) into something more. Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer starred in the 1991 film version Frankie and Johnny.
The new production will be an early entrant of the 2019-20 theater season (and so not eligible for this year’s Tony Awards; nominees will be announced April 30 following an April 25 cut-off date).
Frankie and Johnny will mark the Broadway return of multiple Tony Award winner McDonald, who most recently appeared on Broadway in 2016’s Shuffle Along, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921. Her Tony Award for 2014’s Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill was her record-breaking sixth trophy.
Shannon, whose film and TV credits include 2017’s Oscar-winning The Shape of Water and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, last appeared on Broadway in his 2016 Tony-nominated performance opposite Jessica Lange and Gabriel Byrne in A Long Day’s Journey into Night.
Arbus’ credits include the decade-long stint as associate artistic director of New York’s Theatre for a New Audience, where she directed a critically acclaimed production last spring of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale and won an Obie Award for the previous season’s staging of Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth. Among her other notable productions was an Arabic adaptation of The Tempest, performed by refugees in a Ritsona Refugee Camp in Greece.
On the producing side, Hunter Arnold’s credits include, among many others, Pretty Woman: The Musical, Anastasia, Dear Evan Hansen, Kinky Boots and the upcoming Hadestown, the latter on which he’s joined by Frankie and Johnny producer Tom Kirdahy. Kirdahy’s other Broadway credits include Anastasia (with a book by McNally) and 2015’s It’s Only a Play starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick and the Tony Award nominated Kander and Ebb musical The Visit starring Chita Rivera. Producer Debbie Bisno is the Resident Producer at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, New Jersey, and has been a producer on such Broadway shows as War Horse, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical, Hair and McNally’s Mothers and Sons.
The Frankie and Johnny creative team will include Riccardo Hernandez (Sets), Emily Rebholz (Costumes), Natasha Katz (Lighting), Nevin Steinberg (Sound), J. Jared Janas (Hair, Wig and Makeup), Laurie Goldfeder (Production Stage Manager) and 101 Productions, Ltd. (General Manager).