Leon Addison Brown will die on Broadway multiple times for 16 weeks. He plays “Buster,” the sheriff hell-bent on finding author Paul Sheldon and saving him from his Number One Fan Annie Wilkes, in the Broadway version of Stephen King’s 1987 novel Misery.
Previews for the 90-minute suspense thriller – starring two-time Emmy and Golden Globe winner Bruce Willis (“Paul”) and three-time Emmy winner Laurie Metcalf (“Annie”) – kicked off Oct. 22 at Broadhurst Theatre. A limited-engagement run of the Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures production goes through February. Two-time Academy Award winner William Goldman, 84 – who penned Butch Cassidy and the Sundace Kid and All the President’s Men as well as authored “The Season,” a chronicle of what was on Broadway in 1968 – adapted the play and the 1990 film. The film starred James Caan and Kathy Bates, who won an Oscar and Golden Globe for her performance.
Willis – known for his film credits in Die Hard, The Sixth Sense, 12 Monkeys and Pulp Fiction – makes his Broadway debut with Misery. For The New York Times, he described his role as “85 minutes of being in that bed and just a few minutes of being out of it.” Metcalf – a two-time Tony nominee and original member of the Steppenwolf Theatre – replaced Elizabeth Marvel, who was initially announced for the deranged and obsessed character.
Bringing the house to life where the novelist is nursed back to health and imprisioned is David Korins whose work appears in Hamilton, Motown, Vanya and Sonia…, Annie, Bring It On and Magic/Bird. The creative team also includes: Academy and Tony winner Ann Roth (costume design); David Weiner (lighting design) and Tony-winning Darron West (sound design).
Brown would be the first African-American actor in the work as well as in his role – a role that doesn’t call for any specific racial or cultural background. In addition to regional theatre and television roles, Brown’s career includes: Broadway’s The Trip To Bountiful, On The Waterfront, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, and Prelude to a Kiss; and Off-Broadway’s The Train Driver, Two Trains Running, The Alexander Plays (Signature Theater), The Day The Bronx Died (AJT), The Lights (LCT) and As You Like It (Theater for a New Audience).
While some comments have been that Willis should be no where near Broadway, the acclaimed story is no stranger to the stage. British writer Simon Moore adapted the work for a London West End production in 1991, and it has had runs at several regional theaters through 2013. In 2012 Goldman’s adaptation was produced at Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania, while Moore’s handiwork appeared in Dubai by London-based theatre company Popular Productions. In 2014, Dutch composer and theatre producer Florus van Rooijen adapted the work into a “feel-bad musical” in Amsterdam, and a German production was shown at Schlossparktheater in Berlin.
Directed by Will Frears, Misery opens Nov. 15. Fans have the chance at the theatre to leave a message on the Misery Typewriter and be featured on the Twitter page (@miserytweets).
— Misery on Broadway (@MiseryBroadway) October 24, 2015