Entertainment & Arts

Cate Blanchett to make Broadway debut

Cate Blanchett Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Cate Blanchett has previously appeared off-Broadway in another Chekhov play, Uncle Vanya, also alongside Richard Roxburgh, her co-star in The Present

Cate Blanchett is to make her Broadway debut later this year when she stars in The Present, an adaptation of a work by Russian writer Anton Chekhov.

Oscar-nominee Blanchett will play a woman holding her 40th birthday, attended by an odd mix of friends.

Australian actor Richard Roxburgh will co-star in the 19th Century play, which will be set in the mid-1990s.

The Sydney Theatre Company production will be directed by John Crowley, maker of the Oscar-nominated Brooklyn.

No specific dates or venue have been given by the theatre, but it said the production would open in early winter.

Blanchett - who is up for best actress for Carol at this year Oscars - previously appeared off-Broadway with Roxburgh in 2012 in Uncle Vanya, another Chekhov play.

She has also been on stage in productions of Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen, Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire and The Maids by Jean Genet.

Lost manuscript

The Present had its premiere in Sydney in August and received rave reviews from critics, with Andrew Upton - Blanchett's husband - adapting it from the Chekhov original.

The couple served as co-artistic directors of the Sydney theatre from 2008-12, with Upton running the company solo until last September.

The Chekhov play, about a character called Anna Petrovna, is one that has been adapted and retitled many times, most notably by Michael Frayn, who called his 1984 version Wild Honey.

It won three Olivier Awards, including best actor for Sir Ian McKellen. The production was staged again on Broadway in 1986 with Sir Ian, Kim Cattrall and Kathryn Walker in the lead roles.

The original work was set at the end of 19th Century and was written in the 1880s when Chekhov was a young medical student living with his parents.

He abandoned it when it was rejected by the Maly Theatre in Moscow and it lay forgotten until the manuscript was discovered in a Moscow bank vault almost two decades after Chekhov's death.

It was first published in 1933, under the title Fatherlessness, but it did not premiere in Russia until 1957.

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