Laurence Fishburne and Sam Rockwell will return to Broadway this spring in a revival of David Mamet’s American Buffalo, lead producers Jeffrey Richards, Steve Traxler and Stephanie P. McClelland announced today.
Directed by frequent Mamet collaborator Neil Pepe, American Buffalo will begin previews in March 2020 with an official opening on Tuesday, April 14. The theater has not been announced.
Fishburne, last on Broadway in 2008’s one-man play Thurgood, will play the character Donny. Rockwell, returning to Broadway after 2014’s Fool For Love by Sam Shepard, will play Teach.
The duo’s casting leaves the play’s third character, Bobby, as yet unfilled or unannounced.
After Chicago and Off Broadway productions in 1975 and ’76, American Buffalo premiered on Broadway in 1977, with Ulu Grosbard directing Robert Duvall as Teach and Kenneth McMillan as Donny. John Savage played Bobby. In a 1981 Off Broadway production at Circle in the Square starred Al Pacino, Thomas Waites and Clifton James.
A 2008 Broadway revival starring Cedric the Entertainer, Haley Joel Osment and John Leguizamo flopped, closing after 20 previews and eight regular performances. A Tony-nominated 1984 Broadway revival starring Pacino, James Hayden and J.J. Johnston suffered an even more unfortunate fate when Hayden, a promising and well-reviewed young actor, died of a heroin overdose six hours after a standing ovation performance.
A 1996 film version directed by Michael Corrente starred Dennis Franz, Dustin Hoffman and Sean Nelson.
In addition to Thurgood, Fishburne’s stage credits include his Tony-winning performance (1992) in August Wilson’s Two Trains Running. Films include, among many others, The Matrix trilogy, Boyz in the Hood and John Wick: Chapter 2 and John Wick: Chapter 3.
Rockwell’s credits include his Oscar-winning performance in 2017’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and the Oscar-nominated role in Vice. Most recently he was Emmy-nominated for playing Bob Fosse on FX’s Fosse/Verdon.
Director Pepe, the Artistic Director of Off Broadway’s Atlantic Theater Company since 1992, has staged Mamet plays Speed-the-Plow and A Life in the Theatre on Broadway, as well as the musical Hands on a Hardbody.
American Buffalo‘s preview date, full casting, design team and venue will be announced later.