Ben Stiller Returns to Broadway
Stiller starts in The House of Blue Leaves after 25 years away from the stage.
After a quarter-century, Ben Stiller graces the Broadway stage once again in the same play that marked his stage debut, John Guare’s The House of Blue Leaves. Stiller plays Artie, a zookeeper whose aspirations of making the “Big Time” in Hollywood as a songwriter are hindered by his schizophrenic wife, played by Edie Falco (The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie). Jennifer Jason Leigh also stars as Stiller’s mistress who resides in the same apartment building.
The black comedy was initially staged off-Broadway in 1971 Stiller’s mother, Anne Meara, played the schizophrenic wife role. Stiller himself appeared in the 1986 revival in a supporting role, with John Mahoney (Frasier) playing the lead.
The House of Blue Leaves is set in Queens in 1965 on the same day that both the Pope and Artie’s Vietnam vet son visit New York City.
The 1971 production received both a Drama Critics’ Circle Award and an Obie Award (or Off-Broadway Theatre Award) for Best American Play. The 1986 revival was universally lauded, receiving numerous awards including 4 Tony Awards.
Stiller made his film debut in Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun (1987). Since then, he has starred in, written, directed and produced more than 50 films including Reality Bites, There’s Something About Mary, Zoolander and Greenberg.
The production of The House of Blue Leaves is slated to play at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York City until June 30th.