Cate Blanchett to Make Broadway Debut in Chekhov Adaptation 'The Present'

Cate Blanchett
Miller Mobley

Says Blanchett on why she became an actress: “It’s a bit like asking why you love somebody. … I feel like I didn’t choose it. It chose me.”

Directed by John Crowley ('Brooklyn') and penned by Blanchett's husband, Andrew Upton, the play will also star Richard Roxburgh.

Cate Blanchett has made acclaimed appearances on New York stages in four different productions, but never on Broadway. That will change later this year when the two-time Oscar winner makes her debut in The Present.

Written by Blanchett's husband, Andrew Upton, the drama is a new adaptation of Anton Chekhov's untitled first play. Blanchett will star with Richard Roxburgh and an all-Australian cast in the Sydney Theatre Company production, staged by Brooklyn director John Crowley.

The limited engagement is set for the early winter weeks of the 2016-2017 season, with a theater and opening dates still to be announced. The STC production jumps to Broadway after a sellout run in Sydney, Australia, last August.

The Present is based on the Chekhov play variously known as Platonov, Wild Honey, Fatherlessness and The Disinherited, which was only discovered some 16 years after the Russian writer’s death.

Upton’s adaptation is set post-Perestroika in the mid-1990s at an old country house where friends gather to celebrate the birthday of the independent but compromised widow Anna Petrovna (Blanchett). At the center is the acerbic and witty Platonov (Roxburgh), with his wife, his former students and friends and their partners. Beyond their comfortable exterior is a mess of unfinished, unresolved relationships, fueled by 20 years of denial, regret and thwarted desire.

Both Blanchett and Roxburgh will be making their Broadway debuts. They previously appeared together on the New York stage in the STC production of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, also adapted by Upton. Crowley's Broadway directing credits include the Martin McDonagh plays The Pillowman and A Behanding in Spokane.

Blanchett — who was previously co-artistic director of STC alongside Upton from 2008 to 2012 — has also appeared in New York in STC productions of Hedda Gabler (opposite Hugo Weaving), A Streetcar Named Desire (with Joel Edgerton) and The Maids (co-starring with Isabelle Huppert).

She won the best actress Academy Award in 2014 for Blue Jasmine and best supporting actress honors in 2005 for The Aviator. Blanchett received her seventh Oscar nomination this year for her lead role in Carol.

The Present will be produced on Broadway by Stuart Thompson and STC.