Spike Lee to Direct Stalag 17 Revival
By Andrew Gans
The New York Post reports that acclaimed film director Spike Lee plans to direct a Broadway revival of Stalag 17 in early 2008.
British actor Clive Owen will likely star in the play,
which bowed on Broadway in 1951 at the 48th Street Theatre. Jose Ferrer directed the original Broadway run.
The play, penned by former prisoners of war Donald Bevan and Edmund Trzcinski, is set in December 1944 in a barrack of Stalag 17 in Germany during the Second World War. The original Broadway production officially opened May 8, 1951, and played 472 performances at the 48th Street Theatre before closing June 21, 1952. The cast featured John Ericson as Sefton and Mark Roberts as Dunbar.
The 1953 film, directed by Billy Wilder, cast William Holden as Sefton
and Don Taylor as Lt. Dunbar with Otto Preminger as Col. Von Scherbach.
Stalag 17 would mark the Broadway bow for Lee, whose many films include "She's Gotta Have It," "School Daze," "Do the Right Thing," "Malcolm X" and "Jungle Fever."
Michael Abbott, according to the New York Times, will produce the Broadway revival. Abbott was a 21-year-old producer when Stalag 17 made its premiere at Off-Broadway's Lambs Club before transferring to Broadway. Abbott told the Times that for the upcoming production he wants "something a little more exciting. . . I don't want anyone to say it's a revival. It's really not a revival, it's a new production."
Director Lee added, "I just don't want to do the old okey-doke thing, dust off some old piece and make a revival. If I'm going to make this venture, this debut to the stage, I have to try to come up with some things that are going to make it interesting for me."
Both Abbott and Lee would like a multiracial cast and more authentic interactions among the prisoners.
Lee is expected to announce further details about the Stalag 17 production at a June 28 press conference in Manhattan.