John Lithgow to Star as Roald Dahl in New Play Giant, Tackling Antisemitisim | Playbill

London News John Lithgow to Star as Roald Dahl in New Play Giant, Tackling Antisemitisim

The play is one of several premieres in Royal Court Theatre's 2024 season.

Director John Lithgow in rehearsal for Everything's Fine Jeremy Daniel

Two-time Tony winner John Lithgow will star as children's author Roald Dahl in Giant, a new play exploring the antisemitism that has marred the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda writer's legacy.

Written by Mark Rosenblatt, the play is one of several premires that will play London's Royal Court Theatre in 2024. The play comes on the heels of a broader cultural conversation about Dahl's work and the prejudice that was embedded in many of his most beloved stories. In 2023, hundreds of words in the author's books were either altered or omitted from future printings in order to remove countless negative references to race, skin color, ethnicity, gender, disabilities, and more.

Set in 1983 when a particularly vicious public outburst of antisemitism drew public outcry against Dahl shortly before the publication of his story The Witches, Giant will be directed by Nicholas Hytner

Running September 20 through November 16, Lithgow will be joined by Elliot Levey as Tom Maschler, Dahl's Jewish publisher.

Said David Byrne, the Artistic Director of the Royal Court, "There are 10 Royal Court debuts this season. It’s my first programme as Artistic Director, and it’s the Royal Court debut for each of the nine exceptional writers. More than just a season, this is a statement of intent for what’s to come: a new generation of bold voices with big, messy stories to tell; world-renowned artists rubbing alongside insurgent new talent, igniting some unmissable theatre on our stages. "

In addition to Giant, the Royal Court will present Emma D’Arcy, Kayla Meikle and Ben Whishaw in a new adaptation of Maggie Nelson's Bluets by Margaret Perry, which will be directed by Katie Mitchell; and Nassim Soleimanpour's newest unseen script piece, cowritten with Omar Elerian. Titled ECHO (Every Cold Hearted Oxygen), every performance will have a different actor, who will, through the piece, explore what it feels like to be an immigrant.

Sabrina Ali’s award-winning play Dugsi Dayz, inspired by the cult-classic film The Breakfast Club, will be directed by Poppy Clifford, Ciara Elizabeth Smyth's award-winning Lie Low will be directed by Oisin Kearney, and Stewart Pringle's medieval sport drama The Bounds will explore the ideological divide between communities with direction by Jack McNamara.

Lastly, Tife Kusoro’s will explore the effect of urban legend and police surveillance, Oli Forsyth’s BRACE BRACE, directed by Daniel Raggert, will examine the nature of healing and survival in the aftermath of a plane hijacking, and Emteaz Hussain will give a voice to the often overlooked British Pakistani population with Expendable.

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