Following all of the gossip, a last minute replacement, and ultimately the early closure of the Broadway production of Lyle Kessler’s play Orphans, the drama surrounding the production finally comes to an end as the show’s producers reach a settlement with actor Shia LaBeouf.
Originally cast in the three-character play, Shia LaBeouf clashed with co-star Alec Baldwin during play rehearsals, soon leading to the young actor’s dismissal (he was quickly replaced by Ben Foster). LaBeouf filed a grievance with the Actor’s Equity Assocation following the fracas, and now a settlement has been reached with the Orphans producers — though the terms have not been disclosed.
“We regret the circumstances that caused Shia’s departure from Orphans,” said producers Frederick Zollo and Robert Cole in a statement. “Shia is a gifted actor whose full preparation to undertake the role of Treat demonstrated his respect and devotion to the play. The parties recognize that neither Mr. LaBeouf nor the producers was at fault. We have the utmost respect for Shia and his acting abilities, and would welcome the opportunity to work with him in the future.”
The new production of Lyle Kessler’s play Orphans closes at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre today. The play, which officially opened on April 18, ends its run early, having played only a total of 64 performances.
Orphans starred Ben Foster and Tom Sturridge as orphaned brothers living in a decrepit North Philadelphia row house, with the elder brother supporting himself and his sheltered sibling by committing petty crimes. When he tries to kidnap a rich business man (played by Alec Baldwin), both brothers are surprised to find themselves with a new father figure of sorts.
From early in its rehearsal process, Orphans was making headlines due to reported difficulties relating to the production’s original star, popular movie actor Shia LeBeouf (Transformers). LeBeouf, who was let go from the production during rehearsals, publicized private email conversations that he had had with co-star Alec Baldwin and director Daniel Sullivan via his Twitter account. The young actor was quickly replaced with Ben Foster, and the production’s first preview was delayed a week.
Though most of the press about Orphans centered around Alec Baldwin, Shia LeBeouf, and replacement Ben Foster (who has been active in independent film for several years), Tom Sturridge ended up being the play’s breakout star, earning a Tony Award nomination for his performance.
Following the announcement that Shia LaBeouf would be bowing out of the new Broadway production of Lyle Kessler’s drama Orphans, currently in rehearsal, it has been announced that actor Ben Foster will be replacing him. Foster will be playing the part of Treat, the elder of two brothers – the younger is played by Tom Sturridge. Shia LaBeouf was said to have exited the production due to creative differences, presumably with co-star Alec Baldwin.
Ben Foster is well-known in the independent film scene, with movies such as The Messenger, Rampart, and the forthcoming Kill Your Darlings. This production of Orphans will mark his Broadway debut.
Despite the slight disruption in the rehearsal process, Orphans is still scheduled to begin preview performances at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on March 19, with the official opening night set for April 7.
Acclaimed young actor Shia LaBeouf (Lawless, Transformers) will make his Broadway debut in the Spring of 2013 in a production of Lyle Kessler’s play Orphans. He will be starring alongside Alec Baldwin (TV’s 30 Rock), who is appearing on Broadway for the first time since 2004, when he was in Twentieth Century.
In the play, Shia LaBeouf will play the role of Treat, the eldest of two orphaned brothers living in an old Philadelphia row house and getting by through thievery. When Treat escalates his criminal activity to kidnapping, the rich man (played by Alec Baldwin) that he kidnaps ends up becoming the father figure that the boys have always wanted.
Under the direction of Daniel Sullivan (Glengarry Glen Ross), Orphans will start previews at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on March 19, 2013, with opening night set for April 7.