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Hollywood Vets Learn New Tricks on Broadway

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The Great White Way will be star-studded in this theater season. WNYC took a look at Hollywood actors and actresses who are returning -- and making their debuts -- on Broadway.

Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson in "The Mountaintop" Angela Bassett may be best known for playing the leads in "What's Love Got to Do with It" and "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," but she made her Broadway debut in "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" in the '80s. This fall, she'll be back on the Great White Way -- playing Camae in "The Mountaintop." (Halle Berry was originally scheduled to take the role but reportedly couldn't due to a child custody battle.) Samuel J. Jackson, who starred in "Pulp Fiction," "Jackie Brown," and in three Spike Lee joints, plays Dr. Martin Luther King in his Broadway debut. Branford Marsalis composed the score for the show, which is set on April 3, 1968, the night before Dr. King was assassinated. "The Mountaintop," written by Katori Hall, is a work of fiction that opens in previews at Jacobs Theatre on Sept. 22.

Harry Connick, Jr. will star in "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever" on Broadway.Harry Connick, Jr. in "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" Harry Connick, Jr. plays Dr. Mark Bruckner in Michael Mayer's revival of the 1960s musical "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever." (Barbra Streisand and Yves Montand starred in a film version of the musical.) In the show, by Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner, a patient named David Gamble goes to see his psychiatrist, Dr. Bruckner, to try to quit smoking so he can move in with his boyfriend. Dr. Bruckner puts David under hypnosis and then falls in love with his patient's past life as a 1940s female jazz singer. In previews at St. James Theatre on Nov. 12. Connick, Jr. was most recently on Broadway in a revival of "The Pajama Game" in 2006.

Kim Cattrall in "Private Lives" Kim Cattrall, probably best known for her role as Samantha in "Sex and the City," will play Amanda in "Private Lives," a comedy written by Noël Coward and directed by Richard Eyre. The play tells the story of a divorced couple, Amanda and Elyot (played by Paul Gross), who despite being on honeymoons with new mates, realize they can't live with each other peacefully or without each other. The show opens in previews on Nov. 6 at the Music Box Theatre and runs through Feb. 5. Cattrall starred in "Wild Honey" on Broadway prior to "Private Lives," which comes to New York from London.

Cynthia Nixon in "Wit" Another star from "Sex and the City," Cynthia Nixon, who won a Tony for "Rabbit Hole" but is better known for the Emmy she got for playing Miranda in the HBO series, will return to Broadway as Vivian Bearing in the Manhattan Theater Club's production "Wit." The Pulitzer Prize-winning show written by Margaret Edson and directed by Lynne Meadow premiered Off Broadway in 1998. The story follows a poetry professor who goes through an experimental cancer treatment. "Wit" opens in previews on January 5 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater and runs through March 4.

Woody Allen, Credit Colin Swan/Flickr

"Relatively Speaking" by Woody Allen, Ethan Coen and Elaine May Fans of Woody Allen, Ethan Coen and Elaine May are in luck this fall: each of them has written one-act plays that will be staged on Broadway. "Honeymoon Motel," "Talk Therapy" and "George Is Dead" will be staged together as a comedy called "Relatively Speaking," which John Turturro will direct. The cast includes Danny Hoch ["Jails, Hospitals & Hip Hop"] and Steve Guttenberg ["Cocoon," "Three Men and a Baby," "Short Circuit."], among others. The show opens in previews on Sept. 20. In addition to his classic films, Allen has also written "Don't Drink the Water" and "Play It Again, Sam" for Broadway.

Elena Roger and Ricky Martin in "Evita" Olivier Award winner Elena Roger and Grammy Award-winning Ricky Martin will star in "Evita" on Broadway next Spring. (Roger played Evita in London in 2006.) Martin, who made his Broadway debut in the original "Les Miserables," will play Che in the new production, which is directed by Michael Grandage and is based on the life of the Argentinian political leader Eva Perón, President Juan Perón's second wife. The musical depicts different life stage of Eva's life, from her early years to her rise to power to her death. Opens in Spring 2012. Score by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Rachel Griffiths in "Other Desert Cities" Rachel Griffiths, who played Brenda in "Six Feet Under" and Sarah in "Brothers and Sisters," takes over the part of Brooke Wyeth from Elizabeth Marvel in "Other Desert Cities." In the play, directed by Jon Robin Baitz, Brooke returns to her Republican parents' home in Palm Springs with her memoir after a six-year absence. The show marks Griffiths' Broadway debut. Other new cast members in the Broadway run include Judith Light and Joe Mantello. Opens in previews at the Booth Theatre on Oct. 12. (The show is currently playing Off Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater.)

Updated 8/3/11