This morning The New York Times ran an American Express full page ad officially announcing that last year's West End smash hit Equus, the controversial play by Peter Shaffer, will arrive in America for a limited Broadway run at the Broadhurst Theater. Heading the cast will be the original co-stars of the London run: Richard Griffiths and Daniel Radcliffe.
When I saw the play on April 10 of last year at the Gielgud Theatre, I immediately knew that the production was destined, when it ended its limited run on Shaftesbury Avenue, to come to the States. And although Richard Griffiths is not my ideal Martin Dysart, he will return to Broadway where he won the Tony Award for his unforgettable performance in The History Boys.
Americans will get a chance to see Daniel Radcliffe's incredible performance as Alan Strang, the boy who blinds a stable of horses in rural England. His performance in London was incredible. Here was a movie superstar, making his West End debut in a difficult role where he had to shed his clothing, and perform one of the key scenes of the play totally naked. The British are generally blasé about nudity on stage. Certainly, the audience at the performance I attended were adult about it. Although there were plenty of curious teenage girls and boys in the audience that had come to see their Harry Potter in the all-together, they were quiet and serious. Interestingly, many had come to the performance with their moms, and these ladies all had that look that told you that they knew exactly why their children had suddenly acquired a taste for the theater.
Americans, on the other hand, are entrenched in deeply-rooted puritanical attitudes when it comes to nudity, and even New York papers such as The New York Post had something negative to say about a West End run that was distant. Now, the play will be here in New York City, and the rush for tickets, the hype, and the controversy will soon engulf the Great White Way.
On September 5, New York is in for a nice treat. But pay close attention: if you intend to see it, I suggest that you begin making arrangements to buy your tickets fast. This limited 22 week run has all the makings of a fast sell-out, and people will be trampling over each other to get in to see it. See you at the Broadhurst!