STAR OF BROADWAY’S
FEATURED IN STAR LEDGER
Brendan Fraser, who stars in Broadway’s hit comedy ELLING, is featured in the Star Ledger.
By Ronnie Reichl
November 21, 2010
Long before he swung from trees as “George of the Jungle,” or became a dying man’s confidant in “Gods and Monsters” — and even before he made Neanderthals lovable in “Encino Man” — Brendan Fraser dreamed of making his Broadway debut.
Originally from Canada, the actor first visited New York when he was 8 years old.
As he explored the city with his family, he escaped the supervision of his three brothers. He found himself alone in a neighborhood lit up with giant marquees.
“This is the most astonishing place,” he thought.
With only a $5 bill in his pocket, he knocked on the window of a cab. The driver — Fraser remembers he had a Super Mario mustache and a twinkle in his eye — told him stories of Times Square and the city. When he dropped Fraser off at the hotel where his family was staying, he said, “Kiddo, this one’s on the house.”
“See you on the Great White Way,” he added as he drove off.
Fraser recalls this story from a dressing room in Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore Theatre, minutes before a rehearsal leading up to his debut in the play “Elling.”
Fraser stars in the play, which opens tonight, alongside Denis O’Hare and Jennifer Coolidge.
“I’m pleased that I’m on the boards where Marlon Brando made his debut,” he says. (Brando bowed here in 1944’s “I Remember Mama.”)
“Right now I’m seated in a dressing room Jessica Tandy occupied. I feel a great deal of history just being in the neighborhood.”
Although “Elling” is not his stage debut — he appeared as Brick in Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” in London’s West End in 2001 — it still feels like a new chapter.
ELLING is based on the popular original novels by Ingvar Ambjørnsen and adapted for the Oscar nominated film and the stage by Axel Hellstenius and Petter Næss, in a new English adaptation by critically hailed writer Simon Bent. ELLING played the West End and was nominated for the Lawrence Olivier Award for Comedy of the Year.
Set in the current day, ELLING is a comedy about a wildly mismatched pair of roommates trying to embrace life, love, friendship, pizza, poetry and women. Denis O’Hare plays obsessive/compulsive Elling. Brendan Fraser, plays the wildly enthusiastic gentle giant Kjell. Jennifer Coolidge plays Reidun, the object of Kjell’s considerable affection, Richard Easton plays Alfons, Elling’s unlikely poet mentor and Jeremy Shamos plays Frank, an inquisitive social worker.
The design team is comprised of Scott Pask (set), Kenneth Posner (lighting), Catherine Zuber (costumes) and David Van Tieghem (composer/sound designer).
Tickets are available through Telecharge.com or 212-239-6200, or in person at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243 West 47th Street. Ticket prices range from $46.50 to $126.50 (all prices include $1.50 facilities fee).
The performance schedule is Tuesday through Saturday at 8pm, with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm and Sunday at 3pm. Beginning, Tuesday, November 23, all Tuesday performances will begin at 7pm. Thanksgiving week, there will be no performance on Thursday, November 25 and, an additional performance on Monday, November 22 at 7pm.