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David Mamet Writes New Play for Al Pacino; Broadway Premiere Next Fall

By Jon Sobel j.sobel@classicalite.com on Oct 16, 2014 03:25 PM EDT

Next October will see Al Pacino's return to Broadway in China Doll, a new play by David Mamet written specifically for the actor. Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon (Clybourne Park, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, A Delicate Balance) will direct.

Pacino's last appearance on the Great White Way was in a hit revival of Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross in 2012, and the collaboration between the two goes back to the legendary Broadway production of the playwright's American Buffalo in 1983. Pacino also appeared in the 1992 film version of Glengarry Glen Ross.

The past success of the pairing may bode well. Mamet's last new Broadway play, The Anarchist, which starred Patti LuPone and Debra Winger in her Broadway debut, tanked in late 2012 after poor reviews. Prior to that Mamet wrote and directed Race, which starred David Alan Grier, Richard Thomas, James Spader and Kerry Washington. It was more successful, though it received mixed reviews and was not a career-defining hit.

In a statement, Mamet described China Doll as a two-character play about a billionaire going into semiretirement and "giving last minute instructions to his young assistant. He takes one last phone call…"

In his own statement, Pacino said the new role was "one of the most daunting and challenging roles I've been given to explore onstage…It's a special gift to originate a role in the theater, especially written by such a formidable writer and I haven't done that in a long, long time."

China Doll will run at one of the Shubert-owned Broadway theaters, lead producers Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel and Steve Traxler said.

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Tagsbroadway, David Mamet, Al Pacino, China Doll, race, Glengarry Glen Ross, American Buffalo, The Anarchist, Pam MacKinnon