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Denzel Washington Returning To Broadway In 2014, Teaming w/ Kenny Leon, Scott Rudin

Denzel Washington Returning To Broadway In 2014, Teaming w/ Kenny Leon, Scott Rudin

Everybody’s coming to, or returning to Broadway; Oprah Winfrey very recently reiterated her Broadway plans (although she hasn’t revealed what work she’ll be bringing to the stage) – plans she first revealed about a year ago.

And today, Denzel Washington, who was last on Broadway, starring in the Kenny Leon-directed revival of August Wilson’s Fences, opposite Viola Davis, for which they both won Tony Awards – revealed to Charlie Rose in today’s episode of The Charlie Rose Show, that he’s planning a return to the stage in 2014.

Here’s the quote from the interview (he was on the show with Robert Zemeckis, plugging Flight, which opens in theaters tomorrow):  

“What I want to do is come back to Broadway, which I plan to do in 2014… Scott Rudin and Kenny Leon, who directed me in Fences, we’re all trying to figure out which play to do. I won’t say which play – they already got their minds made up. But 2014.”

So there you have it; it seems like it’s pretty much a done deal, and it’s just a matter of time before the title of the play is revealed. He says Rudin and Leon have already decided on what the play will be; but he hasn’t quite made up his own mind yet as to whether the play they’ve chosen is one he’d like to do. But the 2014 date seems definite.

I started to speculate, but then remembered that earlier this year, in February, we dug up a profile of Denzel while he was pluggign Safe House, in the UK, which included an interview with Denzel and the statement that the actor was “showing no signs of slowing down, with talk of him starring in Othello with Al Pacino.

Denzel played Othello on stage in college many years ago at Fordham University, so this won’t be foreign territory for him, this time teaming up with Al Pacino as Iago.

So might this be the play that Rudin and Leon have already settled on?

What I can say is that, for a number of years now, Pacino has been interested in producing the Shakespearean tragedy, with him playing Iago; most recently, in 2010, while doing press for The Merchant Of Venice on Broadway, in which he played Shylock, he had this to say to the New York Times: “I once talked to Denzel Washington about doing Othello. I turned down Iago in the past because I thought there was a banality to Iago. Time has passed, and I have read the play again and again and found a way in… Now I want to do it.

So… connect the dots…

I haven’t heard any “talk” other than what Pacino said to the New York Times, nor have I heard/read anything about Denzel’s potential participation since this February’s UK Telegraph profile, so we’ll see. 

I’d say that a pairing of Pacino and Washington on stage in a Shakespeare work will likely be THE friggin’ hottest ticket in town, or at least on Broadway, whenever/if it ever does happen, and you may as well put Denzel’s name up there for another Tony Award as well.

But maybe it’s a completely different work which we’ll find out about eventually; maybe Oprah’s waiting for him, and we’ll see him and Oprah in a play together! Imagine that!

Finally, also in the Charlie Rose interview, Denzel said that he loved acting on stage the most – more than film, which I thought was interesting. “There’s an energy you get from it,” he told Rose.

In fact, he said that, what he likes, in order, is, first, directing, then acting on stage, and then acting on film. So while he loves acting for the screen, he’d apparently prefer to either be directing, or, if he’s to act, he’d rather act on stage, before film.

Maybe a hint as to what his future might look like… less on-screen acting, more directing, more Broadway.

Watch the full interview below:

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I think Denzel Washington and Al Pacino are far too old to do Othello. Why not find younger more attractive male actors for the lead roles? What is Denzel like 58 years old or something I mean he's really old.


This should be fantastic. In DC in the late 90s I experienced a MARVELOUS rendition of Othello with Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation) in the lead role with an all Black cast. Twas Outstanding!


Let me first say the only images I have of Othello and Lago are that of Lawrence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh, respectively (1995). And, they killed it! Now wait, listen to this, Denzel may be the best thing smokin' in many ways, but he's no Lawrence Fishburne. Okay, settle down, I know what your thinking, but let me continue. Al Pacino was devilishly delightful as the blind Lieutenant Colonel, Frank Slade in Scent Of A Woman. And who can forget his infamous role as the ruthless cocaine snorting, machine gun blazing Tony Montana? Yep, classics to say the least, but he is no Kenneth Branagh. Listen, I am suggesting that Lago IS banal, deceitful, multiplicative and most of all, quiet. Can a loud mouth, obnoxious and over-acting Al Pacino go there? Can Denzel match the menacing glare of Lawrence Fishburne's Othello? Look, Othello was hurt and betrayed which caused tremendous emotional pain; grief, severe doubt and heartache. Can Denzel go there? Granted, in John Q he displayed sorrow and sadness upon the prospect of losing his son, but that's a different type of pain than one would feel when they discover their wife's infidelity. Having said that, off the top of my head, I can't think of a film in which Denzel had to express those emotions. I don't know… he's arguably the best actor on the scene… but Shakespeare's Othello is a huge undertaking… not suited for every actor… even those with Denzel's prowess… I'm just saying.




Yes…young actors….not young rappers. Oh no I didn't!


and i won't miss it, i will a roundtrip ticket for one day 2 new your just so i can see it. i'm mad i missed seeing "fences" and i didn't realize that viola davis was in that.

D.C. Kirkwood

Awesome news. This is how actors build their skill set by staying busy and working between stage and film. I hope younger actors will take note.

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