The off-broadway adaptation of Dead Poet’s Society, set to open for previews in October of this year, has just had one of its leads announced. Jason Sudeikis will star in the role originated by Robin Williams, professor John Keating.
Dead Poet’s Society will be Sudeikis’ Off Broadway debut. He is most well-known for his near-decade of experience on Saturday Night Live and has earned credits for numerous other TV shows including 30 Rock andThe Last Man on Earth. He has two upcoming movies with other big-name actors that are sure to generate more visibility.
Though he has no prior Broadway experience as a performer, Sudeikis is a well-known fan of musicals such as Wicked.
Screenwriter Tom Schulman will adapt the script for stage, and Tony Award winner John Doyle will direct. Between the two of them, the production looks to be highly promising. Schulman’s screenplay earned him an Academy Award in 1989, and earned a nomination for Best Picture. Both the director and several actors were nominated for a host of other awards as well.
Director John Doyle won a Tony for his work on the revival of The Color Purple. His other Broadway credits include Sweeney Todd and Company. Doyle is the new Artistic Director for the Classic Stage Company, where Dead Poet’s Society will open officially in November. Later this season, the company is also planning an Off Broadway Revival of Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures.
Like the Dead Poet’s Society movie, the play will center on an innovative new teacher at a boy’s boarding school who teaches the young men to appreciate poetry and practice non-conformity. The movie involved a powerful coming-of-age story and starred several not-yet-famous actors, including Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard. Robin Williams starred famously as the new teacher whose methods were so unconventional.
No other casting announcements have been made yet, but further details about casting and scheduling are expected in the coming weeks.