John Merrick is making his way back to Broadway! A new revival of Bernard Pomerance's Tony Award-winning drama The Elephant Man will star two-time Oscar nominee and Broadway.com Audience Choice Award winner Bradley Cooper as Merrick, Oscar nominee Patricia Clarkson as Mrs. Kendal and Alessandro Nivola as Dr. Fredrik Treves. Directed by six-time Tony nominee Scott Ellis, the production will begin performances this fall at a Shubert theater to be announced.
The Elephant Man revolves around the real-life John Merrick, a severely disfigured 19th-century Englishman who struggles to live with dignity. Cooper, Clarkson and Nivola all appeared together in the 2012 Williamstown Theatre Festival production of the play also under the direction of Ellis.
The true-life story of Merrick, whose real name was Joseph—from freak show exhibit to unlikely society figure to his death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—was also the subject of the 1980 David Lynch film, starring John Hurt in the title role, with Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft.
The Elephant Man premiered on Broadway in 1979 with Philip Anglim as Merrick. David Bowie, Bruce Davison and Mark Hamill also played the role during the show’s two-year run. Billy Crudup earned a Tony nomination when he headlined a short-lived 2002 revival. Plans for a fall 2013 run starring Cooper, never came together.