If you were looking for a good 80th birthday present, you could do worse than having Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon star in one of your plays on Broadway. That’s the gift Terrence McNally, who turned 80 last November, will be getting next spring with a revival of his play Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune starring McDonald and Shannon, which will be directed by Arin Arbus. The play, which originally premiered Off Broadway in 1987 with F. Murray Abraham and Kathy Bates, follows a short-order cook and a waitress just after they’ve had sex on their first date, and as they contemplate whether there’s any further connection between them. The play was revived on Broadway in 2002 with Edie Falco and Stanley Tucci and adapted into a film with Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer in 1991, though that has some significant departures from the original. McDonald, who won two of her six Tonys in projects McNally wrote (Ragtime and Master Class), and Shannon, who was nominated for a Tony for Long Day’s Journey Into Night and is just generally very intense and serious about theater, will start performances in Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune in May 2019, past the Tony eligibility date for this season but within range for the 2019-2020 season, at a theater to be announced.
So theater! Very intense! Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images/Jim Spellman/WireImage