New Broadway Comedies from Woody Allen, Ethan Coen, and Elaine May

By , Columnist
Four powerhouse film talents are joining forces to create a Broadway comedy. Will it have four times the laughs? We'll have to wait and see.

Actor John Turturro is set to direct Relatively Speaking, a trio of short plays, one each by Ethan Coen, Elaine May, and Woody Allen. Allen told the New York Times that his contribution, Honeymoon Motel, is "a broad comedy" with "no redeeming social value." Sounds promising.

Coen, of the blockbuster Coen Brothers moviemaking team (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, No Country for Old Men, True Grit), will be making his Broadway debut, but he's no stranger to the New York stage. For one thing, his trio of one-acts, Almost an Evening, garnered some positive reviews Off-Broadway in 2008 (though yours truly had mixed feelings about it).

Screenwriter Elaine May (Heaven Can Wait, The Birdcage, Primary Colors) debuted on Broadway with her old partner Mike Nichols all the way back in 1960, having started her career in improvisational theater. Allen made his initial Broadway appearance in his own Play It Again, Sam in 1969, having begun as a stand-up comedian.

Safe to say these old pros won't be blinded by the bright lights of the big city stage. Especially since all they'll have to do is sit in the audience during rehearsals and kibitz.

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Jon Sobel is a freelance writer, web editor, theater and music critic, marketing writer, and musician. His newest project is the blog Park Odyssey, where he is visiting and blogging every park in New York City - over a thousand of them.

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