Arts

Patti LuPone and Mia Farrow to Star in ‘The Roommate’ on Broadway

Mia Farrow and Patti LuPone, longtime friends, had no intention of returning to Broadway until a script about two women sharing a house caught their eye.

The play, called “The Roommate,” was written by Jen Silverman, and had a 2017 run, with a different cast, at the Williamstown Theater Festival, where the New York Times critic Jesse Green called it “a kind of chemistry experiment. Can two women of utterly different temperaments and backgrounds help each other? Can they help each other too much?”

Farrow, 79, and LuPone, 75, met in 1979 while working on Broadway — Farrow in “Romantic Comedy” and LuPone in “Evita” — and then they were reconnected via a mutual friendship with Stephen Sondheim. (Farrow and LuPone both have houses in western Connecticut, as did Sondheim.)

Farrow, in a telephone interview, said she had been sent the script for “The Roommate” and was intrigued. And she said she wanted to work with LuPone.

“I would normally have said no, had I not been swept away,” she said. “This play is very funny, and odd. I’ve never read anything quite like it. It’s about secrets, and there are a lot of surprises in it.”

Now a Broadway production is to begin performances Aug. 29 and to open Sept. 12 at the Booth Theater, where “Kimberly Akimbo” closed last weekend. It will be directed by Jack O’Brien, a three-time Tony winner (for “Hairspray,” “Henry IV” and “The Coast of Utopia”), and also a friend of Farrow.

Farrow, best known for her work on film, has done occasional stage work over the years, starting at age 18 in a production of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” but it’s been a while. Most recently she spent a month in a 2014 Broadway production of “Love Letters.”

She said she was both excited and nervous about returning to the stage. “Unlike some people, I really enjoy my retirement,” she said. “I’m never bored. So this takes a bit of a push for me, but I got on board.”

She added, “I don’t know that I’ll ever do it again, but if this is the last thing that I do, then I’m lucky to be involved.”

LuPone is a Broadway veteran and three-time Tony winner, for productions of “Evita,” “Gypsy” and “Company.” In 2022 she said she had given up her membership in Actors’ Equity Association, saying, “I knew I wouldn’t be onstage for a very long time.” In a statement announcing “The Roommate,” LuPone said, “I certainly had no intention of being back on Broadway so fast. But when I read the play and heard Mia was attached, it became the easiest decision of my life.”

The production said it expected that LuPone would be able to work on Broadway. When asked about LuPone’s ability to do so, Equity said in a statement, “It is Actors’ Equity Association’s policy to not comment on the membership status of individual workers.”

“The Roommate” is being produced by Chris Harper, who produced the revival of “Company” in which LuPone starred (that revival had a first preview in early 2020, but then didn’t open until late 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic).

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