Danny DeVito and his daughter, Lucy, will co-star in a new Theresa Rebeck play on Broadway this fall, presented by the nonprofit Roundabout Theater Company, which announced its 2023-2024 season on Tuesday.
Roundabout said that its Broadway season would include two three-hander plays: “I Need That,” the new Rebeck play, as well as a revival of “Home,” a 1979 play by Samm-Art Williams.
“I Need That” is a comedy about a widower, played by DeVito, struggling to let go of clutter after the death of his wife. Lucy DeVito will play the character’s daughter, and Ray Anthony Thomas will play his friend; the production, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, will begin performances in October at the American Airlines Theater. Von Stuelpnagel also directed Rebeck’s last Broadway play, “Bernhardt/Hamlet,” in 2018; that show was also produced by Roundabout.
Danny DeVito previously starred on Broadway in “The Price,” another Roundabout production, in 2017.
“I had such a great time the last time I was there, and we’re chomping at the bit to do this one,” Danny DeVito said in a joint interview with his daughter.
In 2021, when many theaters were still closed, Danny and Lucy DeVito collaborated on an audio play, “I Think It’s Worth Pointing out That I’ve Been Very Serious Throughout This Entire Discussion or, Julia and Dave Are Stuck in a Tree,” by Mallory Jane Weiss, for Playing on Air. That show was directed by Von Stuelpnagel, and led to this new venture: The DeVitos said they’d be open to working with Von Stuelpnagel again, at which point he mentioned their interest to Rebeck, who wrote the new play for them. They workshopped it with a staged reading at the Dorset Theater Festival in Vermont in 2022.
“It’s a very humanistic, character-driven, slice-of-life story,” Lucy DeVito said. “The themes speak to loneliness and love, and the hardships you experience with your family while getting older.”
“I Need That” will be her Broadway debut.
“Home,” which Roundabout plans to stage on Broadway next spring, is about a North Carolina farmer who is imprisoned as a draft dodger during Vietnam, and then has a series of adventures in a big city as he tries to put his life back together. The play was first staged Off Broadway by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1979 and then transferred to Broadway in 1980.
“The play itself is a freshet of good will, a celebration of the indomitability of man, a call to return to the earth,” the critic Mel Gussow wrote in the Times in 1979. “In all respects — writing, direction and performance — this is one of the happiest theatrical events of the season.”
The revival will be directed by Kenny Leon, one of the most prolific directors on the New York stage and a Tony Award winner for directing the 2014 revival of “A Raisin in the Sun.”
Roundabout, which only staged one show on Broadway this season (a revival of “1776” that ran for three months), said it hopes to stage three next season; the third has not yet been announced.
Roundabout also announced Tuesday plans to stage two plays Off Broadway next season: “The Refuge Plays,” an intergenerational family drama written by Nathan Alan Davis (“Nat Turner in Jerusalem”), and directed by Patricia McGregor (she is the artistic director of New York Theater Workshop, and that theater is also associated with the production), next fall, and “Jonah,” a boarding school coming-of-age story written by Rachel Bonds (“The Lonely Few”) and directed by Danya Taymor (“Pass Over”), next spring. And it said it would produce “Covenant,” about a blues musician who may or may not have made a deal with the devil, written by York Walker and directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene and staged in its Off Off Broadway underground black box space in the fall.