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Michael Stuhlbarg will end his decade-long absence from the New York stage to play the title role in Socrates, a new drama by actor-writer-director Tim Blake Nelson set to premiere at the Public Theater next spring.
The play chronicles the growing prominence of one of the forefathers of Western philosophy in democratic Athens, continuing through the military and social upheavals that led to his execution. It pays tribute to an original thinker who continues to inspire the world today to question authority and defend freedom of belief.
“Given its physical, emotional and technical demands, this role might have been next to impossible to cast,” said playwright Nelson. “Luckily, I’ve known Michael since drama school, and was able to bring him in to read the part in my living room when the play was only a first draft. He’s the only actor I envisioned to play this complex character.”
Tony winner Doug Hughes will direct the production, which begins previews April 2 ahead of an official opening April 16. The limited engagement is scheduled to run through May 19.
In addition to Stuhlbarg, the ensemble also will include Dave Quay, Austin Smith, Joe Tapper and Andrew Weems, with complete casting to be announced.
Stuhlbarg’s busy screen career has recently included The Looming Tower, Fargo, Call Me by Your Name, The Shape of Water and The Post. He next will be seen starring opposite Elisabeth Moss in Josephine Decker’s Shirley.
The actor has appeared frequently in Public Theater productions, most recently playing the title role in a 2008 Shakespeare in the Park staging of Hamlet. He received a Tony nomination for his last role on Broadway, starring with Billy Crudup, Jeff Goldblum and Zeljko Ivanek in Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman in 2005.
Nelson next stars in the Coen brothers’ new Western anthology film for Netflix, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. His previous plays include The Grey Zone and Eye of God, both of which he adapted and directed for the screen.
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