Lucas Hedges, who scored an Oscar nomination for 2016's Manchester By the Sea, and Mike Faist, West Side Story's BAFTA-nominated Riff, are set to star as the story's star-crossed sheep herders, Ennis and Jack, respectively. The late Heath Ledger portrayed Ennis and Jake Gyllenhaal played Jack in the Oscar-winning 2005 adaptation from director Ang Lee.
This rendition of Brokeback Mountain, directed by Jonathan Butterell, is described as a play with music. Ashley Robinson wrote the piece, which is based on the original 1997 short story by Annie Proulx published in The New Yorker.
Kimberly French/Focus Features; SoHo Place Lucas Hedges and Mike Faist are set to star in a stage adaptation of 'Brokeback Mountain' in London's West End.
Dan Gillespie Sells wrote the songs, which will be performed by Eddi Reader and her onstage country and western band, consisting of Sean Green (piano/MD), Meelie Traill (upright bass), Julian Jackson (chromatic harmonica), and BJ Cole (pedal steel guitar).
"Brokeback Mountain has been recreated in several different forms, each with its own distinctive moods and impact," Proulx said in a statement. "Ashley's script is fresh and deeply moving, opening sight lines not visible in the original nor successive treatments."
The play begins in 1963 Wyoming, where Ennis and Jack take jobs looking after sheep on the isolated Brokeback Mountain. An undeniable attraction arises between the pair, irrevocably changing their lives within an extremely rural and conservative community.
"I'm honored to be entrusted by Annie Proulx to bring new life in new form to her timeless and universal story," Robinson said. "A story that means so much to so many, and will surely mean as much to a whole new generation."
Soho Place Mike Faist as Jack and Lucas Hedges as Ennis in 'Brokeback Mountain,' opening in May in London's West End
Robinson says Sells' music for the show gives "voice to the tumultuous inner landscape of our wannabe cowboys (both young men of few words), and provide the scope of our vast and brutal outer landscape, not to mention allowing Proulx's poetic prose to literally sing."
"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," Butterell said. "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."
Brokeback Mountain opens at the @sohoplace Theater in London's West End on May 10 and will run for a limited time through Aug. 12.
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