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Full cast announced for Brokeback Mountain West End stage play adaptation

 (stockgraphicdesigns - stock.adob)
(stockgraphicdesigns - stock.adob)

A full cast has now been announced for a new Brokeback Mountain West End stage play adaptation, which is set to open in May and run until August @sohoplace.

The play with music will star Mike Faist as Jack and Lucas Hedges as Ennis, who are both making their West End debut.

Paul Hickey, who played Von Eberkopf in The National Theatre’s Peer Gynt, will play the older Ennis, Emily Fairn, who stared in the BBC’s 2022 series The Responder, will play Ennis’ wife Alma, and Martin Marquez, who starred in the 2017 psychological thriller series Modus, will play Joe/Bill/Jack’s Father.

Scottish singer-songwriter Eddi Reader, who fronted the late-Eighties soft rock band Fairground Attraction, will play the Balladeer and Jack’s mother.

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The stage play will be an adaptation of award-winning writer Annie Proulx’s story, Brokeback Mountain, which was adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 2005 by Ang Lee and which starred Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Brokeback Mountain tells the story of two male sheep herders, Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar, who fall in love in Sixties Wyoming.

The play’s script has been written by actor turned writer Ashley Robinson, who is making his playwriting debut, while the play will be directed by Jonathan Butterell, who most recently worked on the Amazon film Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

In the past, Butterell has also choreographed the Royal National Theatre’s Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem Cards and Othello, and the 2003 revival of Nine on Broadway.

“Brokeback Mountain has been recreated in several different forms, each with its own distinctive moods and impact,” said Proulx. “Ashley’s script is fresh and deeply moving, opening sight lines not visible in the original nor successive treatments.”

“I’m honoured to be entrusted by Annie Proulx to bring new life in new form to her timeless and universal story,” said Robinson. “A story that means so much to so many, and will surely mean as much to a whole new generation.”

The play’s songs have been created by Dan Gillespie Sells, who is the frontman of English rock band The Feeling. He has won two Stonewall Awards and composed the music for the musical hit Everybody’s Talking About Jamie which premiered at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield in 2017, and was also directed by Butterell.

“When Ashley approached us about collaborating on Brokeback Mountain we were struck immediately by his deep connection to the world and community that Annie has so brilliantly written about over the years,” said Butterell. “He brought to the adaptation an authenticity and an understanding of these working class men, scraping to survive the harsh brutality of their environment and the insularity of thinking surrounding them, which ultimately leads to their tragedy.”

Grammy and Emmy award-winning Faist recently starred as Riff in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, for which he was nominated for a BAFTA.

Hedges was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work in Manchester by the Sea, and has starred in major films such as Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and acclaimed indie films including French Exit, Lady Bird and Mid90s.

The production team for the new adaptation also includes Tom Pye (set and costume design), David Finn (lighting) and Christopher Shutt (sound).

This is not the first time Proulx’s love story is being adapted for the stage: Brokeback Mountain was turned into an opera in 2014 by Pulitzer prize-winning composer Charles Wuorinen. The opera was directed by Ivo van Hove and premiered in Madrid.

Brokeback Mountain will run from May 10 to August 12 and tickets are on sale now; sohoplace.org