About The Elephant Man
Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper (American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook) takes a dramatic depature from his usual handsome leading-man roles to take on the title character in The Elephant Man, repeating his triumph from a 2012 production at the Williamstwon Theatre Festival. His co-stars, Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Patricia Clarkson (Pieces of April, Six Feet Under) and Alessandro Nivola (The Winslow Boy), rejoin him as does the director, Tony nominee Scott Ellis (The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Curtains, Twelve Angry Men).
Based on a real-life story, Bernard Pomerance’s play tells of the story of the disfigured John Merrick who is rescued from a carnival sideshow by the kindly Dr. Treves (Nivola) and introduced into the upper crust of Victorian English society. He forms a friendship with the celebrated actress Mrs. Kendall (Clarkson) who sees the tender soul underneath the distorted exterior. The lead role is an immense challenge since it calls for the actor to suggest Merrick’s twisted, disfigured body using only physicality and with no elaborate make-up or prosthetics. Longing to fit in despite his infirmities, The Elephant Man will break your heart.
Two hours and 30 minutes (one intermission)
Did you know?
This is not Bradley Cooper’s Broadway debut. He previously appeared opposite Julia Roberts and Paul Rudd in Three Days of Rain.
After a small production in London, The Elephant Man opened Off-Broadway in 1979 and later moved to Broadway where it won the Tony Award for Best Play and ran for 916 performances. The original stars were Philip Anglim (as Merrick), Kevin Conway and Carole Shelley won the Tony for Best Actress in a Play.
Rock star David Bowie and Star Wars’ Mark Hamill were among the actors who took on the difficult lead part on Broadway.
The 1980 film The Elephant Man, directed by David Lynch and produced by Mel Brooks, was not based on Pomerance’s play. John Hurt played Merrick in full heavy make-up and was nominated for an Oscar.
Bradley Cooper’s movie fans will flock to see the handsome star take on such a difficult, physically demanding role. But you don’t have to be a Cooper trooper to enjoy The Elephant Man. Fans of serious, moving drama or challening acting will want to see it.
Good for kids?
Even though the disfigured John Merrick is not literally portrayed with make-up or masks, the subject mattter is probably too mature for small children.
Booth Theatre Location Information:
222 W 45th St.
New York, NY 10036
A, C, E to 42nd St./Port Authority (Eighth Ave.); N, Q, R, 1, 2, 3 to 42nd St./Times Sq. (Broadway)
The Elephant Man's original Broadway production opened at the Booth Theatre on April 19th, 1979, winning the Tony Award for Best Play and running for 916…More
Based on heartbreaking and astonishing real events, The Elephant Man is a highly theatrical play by Bernard Pomerance that returns to Broadway this fall in a starry new…More
• One of the play’s hallmarks is that John Merrick’s condition is seen entirely theatrically. No prosthetics or makeup are used, and the actor playing Merrick…More