Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

High-Wattage Stars Light Up Smaller Stages of New York

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

High-Wattage Stars Light Up Smaller Stages of New York

Article excerpt

There is, apparently, no escaping the publicity phenomenon that is Katie Holmes. So, although this column is sort of about something else, I need to mention that ...

Holmes will be proceeding from divorce filing to Broadway. It was announced late last week that she'll star in "Dead Accounts," a comedy by Theresa Rebeck that will open on an as-yet-unannounced date this fall.

Holmes previously appeared on Broadway four years ago, giving an earnest, if unremarkable, performance in a supporting role in a revival of Arthur Miller's drama "All My Sons."

Without disrespecting the actress, who seems to take her profession seriously, I'll focus here on film actors of greater magnitude who sometimes choose to exhibit their stardom on smaller stages.

At least until the Holmes announcement, much of the season's attention seemed destined for an off-Broadway play called "If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet," by Nick Payne, a highly regarded young English writer who's barely known in this country. It begins preview performances late next month for a Sept. 20 opening.

What lifts its profile way above the

crowd is the casting of Jake Gyllenhaal, making his American stage debut. (He's done some theater in London.)

An appealing, sexy Hollywood leading man gives an enormous publicity charge to the production; to the not-for-profit Roundabout Theatre Company, which is presenting it; and to all of New York theater.

It's less evident what's in it for a popular entertainer like Gyllenhaal: The pay is meager, and his thriving movie career hardly needs the boost of an off-Broadway play.

In its announcement, the Roundabout said, "Jake Gyllenhaal loves this play, and the part." You could take that as the typical blah- blah-blah of a press release, but I would guess it's true, and it's the reason he's doing the play.

(He portrays "a heartbroken drifter with the mouth of a sailor," who visits his family, and forms a bond with his 15-year-old niece, an unhappy, overweight girl who's been hounded by bullies. …

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