Yesterday we got news of another Off-Broadway transfer, but this one doesn’t involve a Broadway show moving to a smaller theater: Irish Repertory Theatre’s hit revival of Eugene O’Neill’s controversial The Emperor Jones will actually gain some 65 seats after it closes December 6 at Irish Rep (where it opened in October) and begins previews for a limited seven-week run on December 15 at Soho Playhouse. In her review, Gwen Orel wrote of Emperor:
O’Neill’s play was groundbreaking in its time, visually, theatrically and intellectually—he used masks, sound and lights and other effects to create an Expressionistic world that reflected Brutus’ (John Douglas Thompson, pictured) savage nightmare. It was also groundbreaking for casting a Black actor in a starring role… Yet odds are you’ve never seen a production of this play done straight, without irony, without a layer of directorial attitude. O’Neill wrote in dialect, and in a play that features a black man so prominently, the use of the dialect can feel uncomfortable.
Thompson is set to return in the lead, and most of the supporting cast will reprise their roles, though new casting will be announced soon for some parts.
(photo credit: Carol Rosegg)