Tony winner Chuck Cooper will complete the star-studded cast of the upcoming Roundabout revival of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard. The Roundabout’s production, under the artistic direction of Todd Haimes, will be playing on Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre. The Cherry Orchard marks Cooper’s fourteenth Broadway show.
Cooper, who was last seen on Broadway in the 2015 historical fiction musical drama Amazing Grace, is set to take on the role of Boris Borisovich Simeonov-Pishchik. Throughout the play, Pischik, a landowner and aristocrat who has fallen into financial ruin, relentlessly deliberates undergoing new business ventures that could save him while pestering Ranyevskaya and the Gayevs for a loan, instead of earning the funds all by himself.
Cooper, a veteran stage actor, won the 1997 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance as the tough-as-nails pimp Memphis in Cy Coleman’s The Life, opposite Lillias White. His other Broadway credits include Act One, Romeo & Juliet, Finian’s Rainbow, Lennon, Chicago, Getting Away With Murder, Passion, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, Rumors, Amen Corner, and Caroline, Or Change. On screen, he recently appeared as a guest star on TV series such as “The Good Wife,” “House of Cards,” “Madame Secretary,” “Gossip Girl,” “Nurse Jackie” and the HBO drama film, Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight.
Earlier this week, Roundabout previously announced the casting of Harold Perrineau (HBO’s “Oz,” FX’s “Sons of Anarchy”), as Yermolai Alexeievitch Lopakhin. The production marks Perrineau’s first appearance on Broadway since starring in the 1987 return engagement of Dreamgirls, 29 years ago. The actor last appeared in the Atlantic Theater Company’s 2002 production of Blue/Orange. Cooper and Perrineau will be joined by a handful of diverse actors that include Maurice Jones (Little Children Dream of God), Aaron Clifton Moten (The Flick), Ian Lassiter (An Octoroon, War Horse) and Carl Hendrick Louis(Little Children Dream of God, Sunset Baby).
The new adaptation of The Cherry Orchard is penned by Stephen Karam, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright who won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Play for The Humans, which also originated at Roundabout before transferring to Broadway. Unlike previous productions, this one, directed by Simon Godwin (Associate Director of the Royal National Theatre in London; making his Broadway debut), is perhaps one of the more diverse productions of a Chekhov play in a commercial Broadway theatre.
Academy Award nominee Diane Lane will headline the company of actors, playing the role of Madame Lyubov Andreievna Ranevskaya, a Czarist aristocratic landowner living in Russia on the brink of revolution. In the play, the character reunites her family at their estate in the countryside before it is auctioned to pay the mortgage in a bid to delay foreclosure. The show also stars Tavi Gevinson (The Crucible, 2016 revival) as Anya, Tony winner John Glover (Love! Valour! Compassion!) as Gaev, three-time Tony nominee Celia Keenan-Bolger (Peter and the Starcatcher, 2014 revival of The Glass Menagerie) as Varya, and Tony winner Joel Grey (Cabaret, Wicked) as Firs. Additional casting includes Tina Benko, Susannah Flood, Quinn Mattfeld, Peter Bradbury, Philip Kerr, Lise Bruneau and Jacqueline Jarrold in the ensemble.
The Cherry Orchard will begin preview performances on September 15, 2016, and opens officially on Sunday, October 16, 2016. This is a limited engagement through December 4, 2016 on Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre (227 West 42nd Street). Additional casting will be announced soon. Tickets are available by calling (212) 719-1300, online at roundabouttheatre.org and in person at any Roundabout box office.