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The actor will star in the first-ever Broadway revival of Children of a Lesser God, producer Hal Luftig announced Tuesday. Tony winner Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun) will direct the new staging of Mark Medoff’s landmark play, also starring Lauren Ridloff. Performances will begin March 22 ahead of an April 11 opening night at Studio 54.
Children of a Lesser God tackles the complexities of human connection and communication as it centers on a speech teacher at a school for the deaf who falls in love with the janitor, a deaf woman who is speechless by choice. The original 1980 Broadway production earned the Tony Award for best play, as well as leading acting honors for John Rubinstein and Phyllis Frelich. William Hurt and Marlee Matlin starred in the 1986 film adaptation, with the latter winning an Oscar for best actress. Frelich and Matlin remain, to this day, the only deaf actresses to have ever won the Tony and Academy Awards for leading roles, respectively.
“At its essence, this is a poignant and profound love story,” said Leon. “Ever since these characters, Sarah Norman and James Leeds, first entered the public consciousness, we’ve been fascinated by their relationship to each other and the world around them. I think our appreciation for what Mark created with this play has only deepened with time.”
Jackson makes his Broadway debut after starring in last year’s off-Broadway play Smart People, also directed by Leon and featuring Mahershala Ali and Tessa Thompson. The revival of Children of a Lesser God jumps to Broadway after a well-received staging at the Berkshire Theater Group’s Fitzpatrick Main Stage this summer.
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