‘Life of Pi’ Play to Open on Broadway

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Life of Pi” is rowing to Broadway in the new year.

A stage version of Yann Martel’s bestselling adventure novel, which also inspired the Oscar-winning movie by director Ang Lee, is beginning preview performances on March 9, 2023 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre ahead of opening night on March 30, 2023.

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Similar to the book and movie, the play centers 16-year-old Pi, who is stranded on a lifeboat with a hyena, zebra, orangutan and 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger after a cargo ship sinks in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. With time and nature working against them, they fight to survive the elements.

Broadway casting will be announced shortly.

“It has been such a privilege to adapt Yann Martel’s modern classic ‘Life of Pi’ for the stage. It was daunting, creatively, exciting and always collaborative. To be able to tell this story the way I imagined it, to create the world using my references and viewpoint has been an extraordinary gift. And to see it resonate with young and old audience members alike has been humbling,” said playwright Lolita Chakrabarti. “It is a beautiful, visceral, magical show, a story of survival which all of us can fundamentally relate to after the effects of the pandemic. I am beyond thrilled that we will bring this play to Broadway.”

Prior to Broadway, “Life of Pi” will make its North American premiere at the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University, where it will play from Dec. 4, 2022 through Jan. 29, 2023.

Simon Friend, Daryl Roth, Hal Luftig, Mark Gordon and Playing Field are producing the theatrical adaptation of “Life of Pi.” Max Webster is directing the play, with set and costume design by Tim Hatley, puppet and movement direction by Finn Caldwell, puppet design by Nick Barnes and Finn Caldwell, video design by Andrzej Goulding, lighting design by Tim Lutkin, sound design by Carolyn Downing, original music by Andrew T Mackay and dramaturgy by Jack Bradley.

“Life of Pi” is currently running in London’s West End, where it won five Olivier Awards including best new play, scenic design and lighting design. In a first for the Olivier Awards, the seven performers who play Royal Bengal tiger ‘Richard Parker’ were collectively awarded best actor in a supporting role.

In Variety‘s review of the London production, David Benedict praised the “fantastic” play.

“Every shift back and forward in time allows audiences to be constantly entranced once again by the magical transitions between the worlds, thanks to the magnificent meshing of every single element of the design team,” he wrote.

Producer Simon Friend says he “can’t wait” to bring the show to Broadway audiences.

“Having started work seven years ago to bring Yann Martel’s much-loved story to the stage, for it to live on Broadway is enormously gratifying,” Friend said in a statement. ”Life of Pi’ has been so joyously received by audiences young and old in the U.K., which is testament to the skill of the large team of artists delivering a show which entertains, and makes you think and feel in equal measure. We can’t wait to welcome audiences on Broadway.”

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