Keira Knightley to Make Broadway Debut in 'Therese Raquin'

Keira Knightley - H 2014
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Keira Knightley - H 2014

The new stage adaptation of Emile Zola’s classic 1867 novel will open Roundabout Theatre Company’s 50th anniversary season next fall

A 19th century novel about adultery, madness and guilt that caused a scandal when it was first published and brought its young author, Emile Zola, lifelong notoriety will provide the stage vehicle for Keira Knightley’s Broadway debut.

Knightley will star in British playwright Helen Edmundson’s adaptation of the French classic, Therese Raquin, directed by Evan Cabnet. The production will kick off Roundabout Theatre Company’s 50th anniversary season, beginning previews on Oct. 1, 2015, with official opening set for Oct. 29.

The casting of Knightley represents a major coup for Roundabout. The actress has made successful theatrical appearances in London’s West End in The Misanthrope and Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour, but was believed to have long been looking for a project to bring to Broadway.

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Roundabout commissioned the Zola adaptation from Edmundson, who in addition to her own plays is something of a specialist in stage versions of classic novels, among them Anna Karenina, The Mill on the Floss and War and Peace.

The title character in the Paris-set Therese Raquin is a bored woman trapped in a loveless marriage to her sickly, egocentric cousin. Her life is irrevocably changed when she enters into a torrid affair with a friend of her husband’s, which compels them to commit a violent crime that will prove as damaging to the perpetrators as it is to its victim.

The full cast and design team for the production are to be announced, along with the Broadway venue.

Knightley will next be on screens starring opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game, which the Weinstein Co. will release on Nov. 21. She also stars in Laggies, with Chloe Grace Moretz and Sam Rockwell, opening this week.

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Also announced for Roundabout’s 50th season is a Broadway revival of Michael Frayn's 1982 backstage farce Noises Off. That production will star Andrea Martin, a recent Tony winner for Pippin, and be directed by Jeremy Herrin, who will be represented on Broadway this spring with the hotly anticipated Brit import Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two. The Frayn comedy begins previews Dec. 17, 2015, with official opening set for Jan. 14, 2016.

The anniversary lineup also includes the Joe Mantello-directed off-Broadway premiere of The Humans, by Stephen Karam, whose previous plays Speech & Debate and Sons of the Prophet both were acclaimed hits for Roundabout.