David Mamet’s ‘American Buffalo’ Is Headed for Broadway

David Mamet’s play about three low-level crooks conjuring up a get-rich-quick scheme is returning to Broadway next year.

A revival of “American Buffalo,” starring Laurence Fishburne and Sam Rockwell, is set to begin previews in March 2020, with an official opening on April 14, the producers announced on Tuesday. A theater has yet to be named.

The original run of the play debuted on Broadway in 1977 and centered on the half-baked heist of three hustlers who conspire in a Chicago junk shop to steal a man’s rare coin collection. (In his review for that production, the New York Times critic Clive Barnes called it “one of the foulestmouthed plays ever staged.”) The play has been revived a handful of times since then, both on Broadway and on London’s West End, and was adapted into a 1996 film starring Dennis Franz and Dustin Hoffman.

In this iteration, Mr. Fishburne will play Donny, the owner of the shop who has taken Bobby, a young neighborhood kid, under his wing. This will be Mr. Fishburne’s first return to Broadway since his portrayal of the former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in the 2008 one-man show “Thurgood.”

“I’m just really looking forward to this play and working with Mamet,” Mr. Fishburne said in a phone interview. “He’s somebody who’s been an inspiration to me both as an actor and as a writer.”

“The way he uses language is like music to me,” he continued.

Mr. Rockwell will play Walter Cole (known as Teach), the group’s volatile and conniving third member who weasels his way into Donny’s scheme and who has been portrayed in previous productions by Robert Duvall and Al Pacino. Mr. Rockwell is returning to Broadway following critically acclaimed film performances, including his Oscar-winning role in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” His last Broadway performance was in the 2014 revival of Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love.” Before that, he acted alongside Christopher Walken in Martin McDonagh’s “A Behanding in Spokane.”

Neil Pepe is onboard to direct the production. The Broadway director is no stranger to Mr. Mamet’s work, having previously directed revivals of “A Life in the Theatre” and “Speed-the-Plow.” He’s also the artistic director of the Atlantic Theater Company, the Off Broadway theater Mr. Mamet founded in 1985.

The play is being produced by Jeffrey Richards, Steve Traxler and Stephanie P. McClelland. Last August, it was announced that Mr. Richards and Mr. Traxler were part of the producing team for an all female-revival of a different Mamet play, “Glengarry Glen Ross,” that was scheduled to begin performances in May of 2019. In a statement to The Times, the “Glengarry” producing team said, “We have deferred the production to the 2020-2021 season” in order to “secure the right theater.”

The exact dates, full casting, design team and the theater for “American Buffalo” will be announced at a later date.

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