Four-Time Tony Nominee Martin McDonagh Returns to Broadway With 'Hangmen'

Hangmen Production Still 3 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of Ahron R. Foster

The dark comedy-thriller revolving around the 1965 abolition of capital punishment in England won the 2016 Olivier Award for best new play in London.

The executioner is headed to Broadway. Two of them, actually.

Martin McDonagh's Hangmen, which won the 2016 Olivier Award for best new play in its London premiere and the New York Drama Critics Circle honor for best foreign play for its acclaimed off-Broadway run two years later, will open March 19 at Broadway's Golden Theatre following previews from Feb. 28. The 20-week limited engagement is scheduled to run through July 18.

The pitch-black comedy about injustice, revenge and man's natural instinct for violence is set in a Lancashire pub run by Harry Wade, Britain's second most famous executioner. Pegged to the abolition in 1965 of hanging in England, it clocks the mounting tensions as Harry deals with needling regulars and reporters eager for his take on the news, a surprise visit from his more celebrated professional rival and the menacing presence of a mysterious stranger from London. 

Directed by Matthew Dunster, the play was widely expected to transfer directly to Broadway following its sold-out extended 2018 U.S. premiere run at the Atlantic Theater Company, which drew rave reviews. But cast scheduling conflicts and unavailability of a suitable theater put those plans on hold. 

While casting is to be announced for Broadway, the Atlantic run featured Mark Addy as Harry and Johnny Flynn as Mooney, the shady outsider from London. David Morrissey originated the role of Harry at London's Royal Court Theatre and reprised the part opposite Flynn in the play's West End transfer.

Dunster will again direct the Broadway engagement, which is produced by Robert Fox, Jean Doumanian and Elizabeth I. McCann. The production will feature the original craft team of scenic and costume designer Anna Fleischle, lighting designer Joshua Carr and sound designer Ian Dickinson.

Hangmen is McDonagh's seventh play to be produced on Broadway. He received best play Tony nominations for The Beauty Queen of Leenane in 1998, The Lonesome West in 1999, The Pillowman in 2005 and The Lieutenant of Inishmore in 2006. More recently, he was represented by the 2010 world premiere of A Behanding in Spokane, which starred Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Zoe Kazan and Anthony Mackie; and the 2014 revival of The Cripple of Inishmaan, starring Daniel Radcliffe.

McDonagh won a 2006 Oscar for best live action short film for Six Shooter and was nominated for best original screenplay in 2009 for In Bruges and in 2018 for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the latter also scoring a best picture nom.

The announcement of Hangmen for Broadway adds to what is already an unusually crowded and competitive race for best play at next year's Tony Awards. Other London imports include Matthew Lopez's The Inheritance, Stefano Massini's The Lehman Trilogy, Rona Munro's adaptation of Elizabeth Strout's My Name Is Lucy Barton, Florian Zeller's The Height of the Storm and Jack Thorne's adaptation of A Christmas Carol.

Also in the mix are Jeremy O. Harris' Slave Play, Adam Rapp's The Sound Inside and Robert Schenkkan's The Great Society, while other productions due to open before the April 23 Tony eligibility cutoff include Noah Haidle's Birthday Candles, Bess Wohl's Grand Horizons and Tracy Letts' The Minutes, which follows Linda Vista as the Tony-winning playwright's second entry this season.