Tony-winning Spring Awakening director Michael Mayer told Playbill July 20 that he and Jake Gyllenhaal had been in discussions to revive Lanford Wilson’s acclaimed play, Burn This, for quite some time.
“We’ve been working on this for quite a while, hoping to find the right theatre, hoping to work it out with Jake’s dates and my dates,” Mayer told Playbill. “The fact that it’s all coming together this spring is really thrilling. It’s a play I love very much.”
Set in downtown New York in the 1980’s, Burn This follows the tempestuous relationship between two strangers brought together in the wake of a life-changing event. The director said they had done three readings of the play so far and that he thought it was a “sensational role” for Gyllenhaal.
“I’ve known him for a long time and have just been thrilled to see him onstage,“ continued Mayer. “I always had a hunch he was a stage animal and then watching him—over the last couple of years—really delivering first-rate stage work, I thought, ‘Okay, it’s time.’”
The play is set to re-open Ambassador Theatre Group’s historic Hudson Theatre in February 2017, marking the first-ever Broadway revival. Producers Stacey Mindich and Jessica R. Jenen are behind the production. “Heralded for its complexity, humor, sexuality and emotional core, Burn This is a masterwork from one of America’s greatest playwrights,“ state production notes.
Mayer is currently in rehearsals for the Encores! Off-Center revival of Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, the first collaboration between Little Shop of Horrors‘ Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. He will also direct the Roundabout Theatre Company production of Love, Love, Love.
Gyllenhaal is tapped to play opposite Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford in a benefit concert performance of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Sunday in the Park with George at New York City Center in October. The actor was critically acclaimed for his performance in the New York City Center concert staging of the musical Little Shop of Horrors opposite original stage and screen Audrey, Ellen Greene.