NEW YORK -- Confirming an open secret that has been circulating on Broadway for months, Scarlett Johansson will return to the New York stage this season to play Maggie the Cat, the feisty wife who refuses to let a loveless marriage get in her way in a revival of Tennessee Williams' 1955 classic, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Johansson won a Tony Award for featured actress in a play for her Broadway debut in the 2010 revival of Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge, in which she starred with Liev Schreiber.
Playing opposite Johansson as Maggie's husband Brick, the former football hero now drowning his sorrows in bourbon, is Benjamin Walker. Last seen as the title character in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Walker also starred on Broadway in 2010 in the critically acclaimed but commercially short-lived historical mockumusical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.
Rob Ashford, currently represented on Broadway as choreographer of the Evita revival starring Ricky Martin, will direct the production, which is scheduled to begin previews Dec. 18 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, with official opening set for Jan. 17.
Stuart Thompson is lead producer on the show, which marks Ashford's first Broadway stint directing a non-musical. He has notched up significant successes staging drama in London, however, notably Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Rachel Weisz, and Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie, with Jude Law. On Broadway, he directed and choreographed the musicals Promises, Promises, with Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, starring Daniel Radcliffe.
Rounding out the key cast, Ciaran Hinds, who has a major arc next season on HBO's Game of Thrones, will play wealthy Mississippi Delta cotton plantation owner Big Daddy Pollitt, while Broadway veteran Debra Monk will play Big Mama. Other cast and creative team are to be announced.
The Cat revival highlights a trend this fall on Broadway of high-rotation recycling mode. Along with David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac, the Williams play is among a handful of returning shows seeing their second major revival in less than ten years. It was last staged on Broadway in 2008, in an all-black production starring Terrence Howard, Anika Noni Rose, James Earl Jones and Phylicia Rashad.