Jeff Goldblum is to star in the Old Vic Theatre Company’s first ever West End production The Prisoner Of Second Avenue, which will be staged at the Vaudeville theatre this summer.
Directed by Laurence Oliver Award winner Terry Johnson, The Prisoner Of Second Avenue is set in the 1970s and depicts New York couple Mel (Goldblum) and Edna Edison and their experience of the trials and tribulations of city life. After Mel is made redundant and suffers a nervous breakdown as a result, their family gathers to offer support, with Edna left to bear the burden of his disintegration and self pity.
Neil Simon’s award-winning black comedy originally premiered in 1971 on Broadway before being made into a film in 1975 starring Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft.
After another Old Vic production opened last night outside the Waterloo theatre’s walls, Kevin Spacey, artistic director of the Old Vic, now marks another first in the theatre’s history: “This is such an exciting development for the Old Vic and brings so many strong relationships together. First, to stage a production in the West End, taking our work to a new space and connecting with a wider audience. Second, I have long wanted to present a Neil Simon play in London. I adore his writing and we’ve had a great relationship over the years. Third, I will be delighted to welcome Jeff Goldblum back to London. We had such a great experience together in Speed-The-Plow and I couldn’t be happier that he’s going to appear in this remarkable play.”
Goldblum made his London Theatre debut in the Old Vic’s 2008 production of Speed-The-Plow alongside Spacey. An Academy Award nominated actor, Goldblum has had a long and successful career on screen, working in popular films including The Life Aquatic, Jurassic Park, Independence Day and Annie Hall. On Broadway his stage credits include The Pillowman – for which he won Outer Critics’ Circle and Drama Critics’ awards – Two Gentlemen Of Verona and The Play What I Wrote.
Goldblum said: I’m so grateful and thrilled about being back in London on the stage. My recent experience at the Old Vic was the best time I’ve ever had. To work with Kevin Spacey, my friend and true genius, will be delicious. I’m also excited to be back with the entire group at the Old Vic – a sterling, nourishing and gorgeous family. And how delightful to be working with Terry Johnson. I’ve been in love with Neil Simon’s work my whole life. He’s not only a comic genius, as everyone knows, but sage in matters of the soul as well.”
Johnson is a hugely acclaimed director and writer having won 10 major British theatre awards, including two Laurence Olivier Awards, one of which was for La Cage Aux Folles which went on to receive 11 Tony Award nominations. Johnson’s recent West End credits include The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice, End Of The Rainbow, Rain Man and Entertaining Mr Sloane. On screen, he has written and directed dramas including The Man Who Lost His Head and the award-winning Not Only But Always.
Simon is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning writer whose work will be seen in two West End theatres this summer, with Sweet Charity currently playing at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Other plays include Barefoot In The Park, The Odd Couple, Plaza Suit and The Last Of The Red Hot Lovers.
The Prisoner Of Second Avenue opens on 13 July, with previews from 20 June, and is booking to 11 September. Details of full casting are to be announced.