Andre Braugher to Make Broadway Debut in 'Birthday Candles'

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Andre Braugher

The 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' star joins previously announced lead Debra Messing in Noah Haidle's reflection on the infinity of dreams that make up a woman's life.

Two-time Emmy winner and Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Andre Braugher will make his Broadway debut in the spring, joining previously announced lead Debra Messing in Roundabout Theatre Company's upcoming production of the Noah Haidle play Birthday Candles.

Directed by Vivienne Benesch, the freewheeling take on the cycle of life begins previews April 2 ahead of an April 21 official opening at the American Airlines Theatre; the limited engagement is scheduled to run through June 21. Enrico Colantoni, Crystal Finn, Christopher Livingston and Susannah Flood complete the ensemble.

Messing will play Ernestine Ashworth, first encountered on her 17th birthday obsessing about her insignificance in the universe. Haidle's play jumps ahead to follow her life over the years through to her 101st birthday, with the only constant remaining the secret, generations-old recipe for her famous birthday cake. 

Braugher was last onstage in New York in a 2012 Shakespeare in the Park production of As You Like It, which marked his ninth Shakespearean role for the Public Theater. He has been nominated for nine Primetime Emmy Awards, winning twice — for lead actor in a drama series in 1998 for Homicide: Life on the Street and for lead actor in a miniseries or movie in 2006 for Thief.

Haidle, a staff writer on Jim Carrey's Showtime series Kidding, also will be making his Broadway debut with Birthday Candles. His earlier play Mr. Marmalade was produced off-Broadway by Roundabout in 2005, starring Michael C. Hall and Mamie Gummer.

First up on Broadway for Roundabout this year is director Kenny Leon's production of the Pulitzer-winning Charles Fuller drama A Soldier's Play, set in 1944 on a Louisiana Army base and revolving around the murder of an African American sergeant. David Alan Grier, Blair Underwood, Jerry O'Connell and Nnamdi Asomugha star in that production, currently in previews at the American Airlines for a Jan. 21 opening.

The company's season also will include a revival of the Tony Kushner-Jeanine Tesori musical Caroline, or Change, beginning previews March 13 at Studio 54. Michael Longhurst directs the London import, with Sharon D. Clarke reprising her Olivier-winning performance in the title role.