Rising-Star Playwright Stephen Karam Readies New 'Cherry Orchard' Adaptation for Broadway

Courtesy of Martin Bentsen
Stephen Karam

Also added to Roundabout Theatre Company's 2016-17 season is 'Love, Love, Love' by Mike Bartlett, whose 'King Charles III' recently opened to rave reviews in New York.

Stephen Karam has been on the theater cognoscenti's radar since his off-Broadway hits Speech & Debate in 2007, and Sons of the Prophet in 2011, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. But 2016 is looking like a major breakthrough year for the playwright, who will have two new works on Broadway.

Roundabout Theatre Company will kick off its 2016-17 season with a new adaptation by Karam of Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, to be staged by Brit director Simon Godwin. The classic drama chronicles an aristocrat's return to her financially troubled estate amidst the social and economic upheaval of turn-of-the-twentieth-century Russia; it will begin previews Sept. 8 at the American Airlines Theatre, with official opening set for Oct. 6. The limited engagement runs through Nov. 27.

The news follows the recent announcement of a Broadway transfer early in the new year — produced by Scott Rudin, with dates and venue still to be confirmed — for Karam's critically acclaimed latest play The Humans, which runs through Jan. 3 at Roundabout's off-Broadway home, the Laura Pels Theatre. Both Sons of the Prophet and The Humans were commissioned by Roundabout.

Also new to Roundabout's slate for next season is the off-Broadway premiere of Love, Love Love by Mike Bartlett, whose contemporary Shakespearean history play, King Charles III, recently opened on Broadway to rave reviews. Bartlett also had a hit off-Broadway in 2012 with his playful take on sexual fluidity, Cock.

Love, Love, Love is a reflection on the baby-boomer generation that spans more than four decades. It begins in a North London flat in the late 1960s, where a couple meet in unexpected circumstances, bonding over their love of rock music and weed. The action then fast-forwards 23 years to clock the ways in which economics and politics put a strain on their marriage and family, before looking ahead to what today's brutal realities hold in store for their retirement years.

The play toured the U.K. in 2010 before being produced two years later at London's Royal Court. The new production will be directed by Tony winner and frequent Roundabout collaborator Michael Mayer, starting previews Sept. 22 at the Laura Pels and playing a limited engagement through Jan. 1, 2017.

Mayer has a connection with the works of both Karam and Chekhov, having recently completed shooting a new film of The Seagull, adapted by the American playwright and starring Annette Bening, Saoirse Ronan, Elisabeth Moss and Corey Stoll. Karam also wrote the screenplay for an upcoming feature adaptation of Speech & Debate, directed by Dan Harris.

Casts and full creative teams for both The Cherry Orchard and Love, Love, Love are to be announced.

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