Comedy legend Elaine May will return to Broadway after an absence of more than 50 years in the fall to star as the spirited grandmother battling Alzheimer’s in Kenneth Lonergan’s memory play, The Waverly Gallery.
First produced off-Broadway in 2000, The Waverly Gallery captures the humor, poignancy and strength of a family coming together during a crisis, as their grandmother Gladys Green, a chatty old-school lefty who owns a Greenwich Village art gallery, fights to cling onto her independence despite her declining health.
Lila Neugebauer, who has been turning heads off-Broadway with acclaimed productions including Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves and Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo, will make her Broadway debut as director on the play. Performances begin Sept. 25 at the John Golden Theatre, with opening night set for Oct. 25. Additional cast is to be announced.
The production continues the relationship of Lonergan — a 2017 Oscar winner for best original screenplay for Manchester by the Sea — with producer Scott Rudin, following the 2014 Broadway presentation of This Is Our Youth, which starred Cera, Kieran Culkin and Tavi Gevinson; and the 2011 feature Margaret.
Cera currently is on Broadway in Lonergan’s play Lobby Hero, with Chris Evans, Brian Tyree Henry and Bel Powley.
May made a smash Broadway debut in 1960, also at the Golden, starring opposite her longtime improv partner in the influential comedy act An Evening With Mike Nichols and Elaine May.
Her films as director include A New Leaf, The Heartbreak Kid, Mikey and Nicky and Ishtar; and her extensive screenwriting credits include The Birdcage, Heaven Can Wait and Primary Colors.
Rudin’s productions on Broadway this spring include Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, which recently opened to rave reviews, starring Glenda Jackson, Laurie Metcalf and Alison Pill; a major revival of the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical Carousel, opening this week; and Denzel Washington in Eugene O’Neill’s barfly drama, The Iceman Cometh, opening April 26.