Joshua Jackson Sets NY Stage Debut in 'Smart People'

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Joshua Jackson

Lydia R. Diamond's new play at off-Broadway's Second Stage will also star Mahershala Ali, Anne Son and Tessa Thompson, under Kenny Leon's direction.

Tony-winning director Kenny Leon has assembled a promising cast for the New York premiere of Lydia R. Diamond's four-character play Smart People, about the role of race in the quest for love, achievement and identity.

Joshua Jackson, currently appearing on Showtime's The Affair, will make his New York stage debut alongside Mahershala Ali (Netflix's House of Cards, also upcoming in the final Hunger Games installment), Anne Son (ABC's My Generation) and Tessa Thompson, whose screen credits include SelmaDear White People and the upcoming Rocky reboot, Creed.

The actors will play Harvard intellectuals drawn into a web of social and sexual politics on the eve of President Obama's first election in the provocative comedy-drama from the author of Stick Fly. The production will begin previews on Jan. 26 at Second Stage Theatre, with an official opening on Feb. 11.

Leon, who staged Stick Fly on Broadway and won a Tony Award in 2014 for A Raisin in the Sun with Denzel Washington, will segue to Smart People after directing the Dec. 3 television event The Wiz Live! for NBC. 

Second Stage will kick off its 2015-16 season with the new musical Invisible Thread, directed by Tony winner Diane Paulus (Pippin), which starts previews Oct. 31 for a Dec. 2 opening. Another new musical, Dear Evan Hansen, by the acclaimed composing team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Dogfight, A Christmas Story), will premiere in the spring, beginning previews March 25.

A fourth production to complete the Second Stage season is to be announced.

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