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Battle of Beleaguered Playwrights

Battle of Beleaguered Playwrights


Two Broadway plays this fall feature playwrights put to the test

Photos: Getty Images

You know those nature films in which a pack of hyenas takes down a gazelle? That's kind of like being a writer on Broadway, where your show can be lunch meat for divas, deceivers, and dilettantes. And that's the gist of two plays hitting the Great White Way this fall. But which one features the most endangered playwright? We assess.

It's Only a Play

(opening October 9 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre)

Who's suffering for art? Peter Austin (Matthew Broderick), nervously awaiting the reviews of his latest play
Who's getting stunt cast? Nathan Lane, reuniting with Broderick as Peter's self-absorbed frenemy with a recently canceled TV show. Call it The Re-Producers!
But will we suffer? Nope! This Terrence McNally story, around since the 1970s, has a great reputation for being a hilarious takedown of artistic egos.

The Real Thing

(opening October 30 at the American Airlines Theatre)

Who's suffering for art? Henry (Ewan McGregor), who wrote a play about an affair and is now having one himself (with Maggie Gyllenhaal's Annie)
Who's getting stunt cast? Cynthia Nixon, who had another role in the original 1984 Broadway production and now returns as Charlotte, Henry's jilted wife (and the star of his show)
But will we suffer? Yes, but in the best way. Witty and heartbreaking, this Tom Stoppard classic tells hard truths about love.

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Mark Blankenship