Bobby Cannavale Sharpens 'Big Knife' for Broadway

Bobby Cannavale Headshot - P 2011
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Bobby Cannavale Headshot - P 2011

The Emmy-winning actor will return to Broadway in spring 2013 in director Doug Hughes' revival of the 1949 Clifford Odets play about Old Hollywood.

NEW YORK – Bobby Cannavale will return to Broadway next spring in a revival of Clifford Odets’ biting attack on the hypocrisies of studio-system Hollywood, The Big Knife, directed by Tony Award winner Doug Hughes (Doubt).

The Roundabout Theatre Company production will begin previews March 22 at the American Airlines Theatre, with an April opening date to be announced, along with additional cast. The limited engagement is scheduled through June 2, 2013.

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Cannavale will play Charlie Castle, a screen star beholden to his studio bosses since they helped cover up a big mistake, which a woman with insider knowledge threatens to reveal.

The part was originated in the play’s 1949 Broadway premiere by John Garfield under director Lee Strasberg. Jack Palance played Charlie in the 1955 Robert Aldrich film.

An Emmy winner for his recurring role on Will & Grace, Cannavale appeared in a guest arc on the fourth season of Showtime’s Nurse Jackie and more recently joined the third season cast of HBO's Boardwalk Empire. He received Tony nominations for both of his previous Broadway stints, as featured actor in 2008 for Theresa Rebeck’s Mauritius, and as lead actor last year for Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Motherf**ker With the Hat.

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The Odets production joins three other Broadway revivals on Roundabout’s slate for the 2012-13 season.

First up is Jim Parsons, Jessica Hecht and Charles Kimbrough in Mary Chase’s Harvey, starting previews May 18 for a June 14 opening at Studio 54. The company’s fall offering is Rupert Holmes’ musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood, starring Chita Rivera. Scheduled for winter is William Inge’s 1953 classic, Picnic.

The Big Knife is one of two Odets revivals on Broadway next season. It follows Lincoln Center Theater’s fall production of Golden Boy, the 1937 drama about a gifted violinist who eyes professional boxing as his ticket out of the slums.

The 75th anniversary production starts previews Nov. 8 for a Dec. 3 opening at a theater to be announced. Directing the play is Bartlett Sher, who staged LCT’s Tony-winning revival of Odets’ Awake and Sing! in 2006, starring Mark Ruffalo, Lauren Ambrose, Ben Gazzara and Zoe Wanamaker. Casting has not yet been announced for Golden Boy.

Cannavale had previously been expected to be back on Broadway this season, opposite Ambrose, in a major revival of the musical Funny Girl, directed by Sher. But that $12 million production fell apart due to financing difficulties prior to its planned Los Angeles tryout.