“Hangmen” is rescue from execution.
The dark comedy, by British playwright Martin McDonagh, will open on Broadway this spring, two years after production was canceled by its producer because the coronavirus pandemic forced theaters to close.
The resurrected production, about an English executioner at the moment when Britain banned the death penalty, will now feature Alfie Allen, who played Theon Greyjoy on “Game of Thrones”, as a mysterious visitor of a bar running through the executioner. The Hangman will be played by David Threlfall, a Tony nominee for “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby”.
The play is now scheduled to begin previews on April 8 and open in the Golden Theater on April 21.
By 2020, “Hangmen”, along with a slightly different cast, had completed its 13th preview show, also at the Golden, and was a week away from opening when Broadway theaters closed.
Eight days after the shutdown, producers announced that they were canceling production, saying: “We do not have the financial means to continue the theater owners, cast and crew through this as yet undefined closing period.” The show was the first, and one of the few, that made such a move.
“I’m not saying I had wisdom, but when people said we would be open again in four weeks, I never believed it,” lead producer Robert Fox said this week. “We were still charged here, and all sorts of expenses for which we did not have the money. “I thought it was the end of ‘Hangmen’ on Broadway.”
But the play was given new life by the U.S. government: It was awarded a $ 5.2 million Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, and was then granted an extension to use that money until June 30, 2022. Fox said that a combination of the federal aid, and the return of money from investors they had received from an insurance claim, “meant we had enough to set up the show, and hopefully to support it in its early days, if support was needed. “
There was a lot to think about: In the last two years, one of the producers of the piece, Elizabeth I. McCann, has died; several of the play’s protagonists were unavailable for personal or professional reasons; and the set was dismantled. But Fox said he wanted to try it again, in large part because of his love for McDonagh’s work, a four-time Tony nominee whose other plays include “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” and whose films “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” include. “
“I’m a big Martin fan – I think he’s a really original and a brilliant writer, and this is Martin’s third play I’ll be producing on Broadway,” Fox said. “I do not think anyone puts it back because they think they will earn a lot of money, but they believe it is a wonderful play by Martin, and hopefully people want to see a dark mystery comedy and enjoy themselves.”
“Hangmen” began his life in London, at the Royal Court Theater, and then, after a West End run, had an Off Broadway production at the Atlantic Theater Company, where The New York Times critic Ben Brantley called it “criminally enjoyable”. called. Matthew Dunster has directed every production, and will do so again on Broadway; the Broadway production will feature Tracie Bennett (“End of the Rainbow”) as the wife of the executioner.