By Zinta Lundborg
Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) — Looking tall and lithe in a leather vest, pants tucked into motorcycle boots and sporting a vaguely ethnic scarf for warmth and color, Jeremy Irons talked about his return to Broadway.
He’ll play a quirky photojournalist who falls for an art gallery owner in Michael Jacobs’s new romantic comedy, “Impressionism.”
“It’s a play about feelings, especially love, which troubles us all,” he said, pacing around a rehearsal room at the New 42nd Street Studios.
Though he played Fredrik Egerman in Lincoln Center’s 2003 revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music,” it’s been a quarter of a century since Irons last appeared on Broadway, winning a Tony Award for his debut in Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Thing.”
“I’ve been offered other revivals, but I much prefer creating something new. I like that dangerous edge,” he explained.
Playwright Jacobs had his first work, “Cheaters,” produced on Broadway when he was 22 years old, though he’s been mainly doing television since then. Veteran actors Marsha Mason and Andre De Shields are in the ensemble with Irons’s romantic interest, Joan Allen.
Glamorous in big gold hoop earrings and a formal white shirt, Allen stands on the other side of the stripped-down rehearsal studio. She says director Jack O’Brien tempted her with the script, insisting it was an ideal role.
She has not been back on Broadway since starring in “The Heidi Chronicles” in 1989. Now she will play the gallery owner who’s been so burned by men that she’s not eager to fall for another.
“Sometimes you just read something that strikes your heart,” she observes. “I know a lot of great New York women who are not married, and they don’t cry in their soup every night.”
O’Brien calls it a “smart play for grownups: no profanity, no drug overdoses, no violence, no monsters. At least not yet.”
While recognizing the risk of opening a new work just now, he says a discerning audience may find the experience a happy relief from reality.
“Impressionism” begins previews at the Schoenfeld Theatre on Feb. 28 and opens March 12.