Few movies have scared audiences like the “The Exorcist.” Now, this classic film could be heading to Broadway. The play, by John Pielmeier, will open on July 11 at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. It will star Brooke Shields and Richard Chamberlain. Critics, such as Michael Reidel from the New York Post, are looking forward to the thriller. After all, Teller from Penn & Teller, is helping the production with special effects. Pielmeier’s previous work includes the hit play “Agnes of God.”
If the show proves to be a hit in Los Angeles, theatergoers can expect it to play during on the Great White Way this fall. Malcolm McDowell will replace Chamberlain as the priest due to scheduling conflicts. Shields will play the mother. No word on who has been cast as Regan, the little girl possessed by the devil.
Broadway producers certainly know how to lure celebrities into making their stage debut. According to Entertainment Weekly, Billy Ray Cyrus will fill the role of Billy Flynn in “Chicago.” From the beginning of November until Christmas, Broadway theatergoers will see him act and sing. It isn’t Cyrus’ first stage gig. He appeared in “Annie Get Your Gun” seven years ago. But that was Toronto and this is Broadway. Will the New York critics skewer his limited run? It’s doubtful. After all, the singer has a huge fan base that will be more than happy to see him perform for a limited run.
Other celebrities have performed in the role, including Usher and Richard Gere. So while theater folks raise a fuss over this latest incident of stunt casting, they should remember the bad economy. If Cyrus’ fame can fill audience seats, it will keep many other theater workers employed during the holidays.