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Movie Star Month Takes Broadway By Storm

by Photo of Natalie Sacks

Michael Cera, James Earl Jones and Rupert Grint bring Broadway plays to life.

Movie Star Month Takes Broadway By Storm

It's been a slow summer for plays on Broadway. But we are about to see an influx of what should be some amazing shows this fall, from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, which received rave reviews in London, to eagerly anticipated revivals such as Love Letters. But it seems as though Broadway producers are trying a new tactic to get seats filled in their new plays, which are always a harder sell to the public than musicals: giving you a chance to see your favorite Hollywood actors live.

It's Only a Play features a star-studded cast, but in particular Rupert Grint's premiere on the American stage. Meanwhile, This is Our Youth brings Scott Pilgrim co-stars Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin together again for their Broadway debut. And James Earl Jones has a long, celebrated history on stage and screen, but who wouldn't take a chance to see him up on stage again?

Here is our preview of the season of "Hollywood comes to Broadway."

This is Our Youth

This is Our Youth had its official opening night on September 11, and stay tuned for our review of the show next week! Set in New York in 1982, it follows 48 hours in the lives of three very lost young souls: Warren, a dejected 19-year-old who has just stolen $15,000 from his abusive, tycoon father; Dennis, his charismatic drug-dealing friend who helps Warren put the stolen money to good use; and Jessica, the anxiously insightful young woman who Warren yearns for.

Michael Cera has been acting professionally since he was ten years old, but popped onto most people's radars in 2003 with Arrested Development. But despite an extensive filmography that includes Superbad, Juno and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, he has never been in a major theatrical production before. He will be starring in the revival of Kenneth Lonergan's drama as Warren.

Joining Cera is Scott Pilgrim co-star Kieran Culkin. While we may think of Culkin as a child film star, starting all the way back with the Home Alone series, he has also been acting on stage all around the world since 2000. Most notably, Culkin has played Dennis in This is Our Youth on the West End and in Sydney and has performed off-Broadway, so he is more than ready to make his Broadway debut alongside Cera.

Will this just be Scott Pilgrim all over again? And is that a good thing or a bad thing? We can't wait to find out.

You Can't Take It With You

You Can't Take it With You by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart introduces audiences to the freethinking Sycamore family and the mayhem that ensues when their daughter's fiancé brings his conservative, straight-laced parents to dinner on the wrong night. It's a play with a very, very long history--it first premiered on Broadway in 1936 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937. It's often compared in style to Modern Family, a sitcom live on stage. And it now has James Earl Jones.

James Earl Jones has won two Tonys, but is really best known for his film work, particularly voiceovers such as Mufasa of The Lion King and Darth Vader. It's impossible to summarize everything this actor has done in even just one medium, but after a long screen career Jones has been returning to Broadway in recent years. You Can't Take It With You follows 2008's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 2010's Driving Miss Daisy and 2012's The Best Man. This Broadway vet provides some great company for newbies Cera, Culkin and Rupert Grint.

You Can't Take It With You is currently in previews, with an official opening night of September 28. Starring alongside Jones is Kristine Nielsen, Rose Byrne and Annaleigh Ashford.

It's Only a Play

Almost every actor in It's Only a Play is a superstar in their own right. But whether you're most excited about Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick (both of The Producers musical and movie and The Lion King movie) reuniting again or the chance to see Karen from Will & Grace (Megan Mullally) on stage again, Ron Weasley's Broadway debut has got to make an impact.

Rupert Grint may not have been as prolific in recent years as Daniel Radcliffe or Emma Watson, but he's hardly been sitting idle either. Since Harry Potter, Grint has appeared in the films Into the White and Charlie Countryman, and made his West End theater debut in Mojo in 2013. Now, alongside a cast of stage and comedy titans, Ron Weasley makes his stand on Broadway.

And the play itself? It’s opening night of Peter Austin’s new play as he anxiously awaits to see if his show is a hit. With his career on the line, he shares his big First Night with his friends, a cast of directors, television stars and...challenging personalities. It's Only a Play by Terrence McNally is also in previews, with an official opening of October 9.

So will these already celebrated stars breathe new life into the straight play scene on Broadway? We'll be finding out soon enough as these plays kick off the fall theater season.

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