Joe Mantegna, Kevin Spacey - and Jeremy Piven?
Those are three well-known actors who have, are currently or will soon appear in David Mamet's caustic, satirical look at the movie business, Speed-the-Plow. Mantegna created the role of Hollywood producer Bobby Gould on Broadway, Spacey is enjoying raves in the role of fellow producer Charlie Fox in London, and apparently, Piven will make his Broadway debut as Gould in a revival this fall.
I was holding out hope that Spacey's production, which also features Jeff Goldblum as Gould and Laura Michelle Kelly as Gould's secretary, Karen, would transfer from London's Old Vic Theatre to Broadway. But according to The New York Times, another version has won out, and will feature Piven. The Times article says that the play will be directed by Neil Pepe of the Atlantic Theater Company, which Mamet helped start. The producers, the same team behind the 2005 Tony-winning revival of Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, are aiming for an Oct. 23 opening.
While I'm disappointed I won't get to see Kevin again, I'm looking forward to seeing Piven on stage. He's so wonderfully obnoxious, ruthless and insensitive as Hollywood super-agent Ari Gold in HBO's Entourage. Playing a Hollywood producer probably won't be a big stretch for him. My only concern is, a little bit of Ari goes a long way and I can easily see Piven being too over-the-top. But he comes from a theatre background - his parents founded the noted Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston, Ill. According to a story in Variety, Piven was last seen in New York in a 2004 off-Broadway production of Neil LaBute's Fat Pig.
This will be the first Broadway revival for the six-hander. (Ok, I know you'd normally call it a three-hander, because there are three people in the cast, but each person has two hands, right? So doesn't a six-hander make more sense?) It opened on April 9, 1988, with Madonna as Karen, Mantegna, (a Mamet regular, and an actor I really like) and Ron Silver as Charlie Fox, and closed on Dec. 31, 1988, after 279 performances. In his review for the Times, Frank Rich called Speed-the-Plow "by turns hilarious and chilling," and said that Mamet created "riveting theatre."
I've never seen a Mamet play on stage, and I like the idea of a witty, acerbic, inside look at the business of making movies. And I'd really like to see Piven on stage, albeit in a role that's pretty close to the one he plays on Entourage. Even though Kevin Spacey won't be in this one, I'm putting Speed-the-Plow on my Broadway wish list.