Meryl Streep is returning to her Broadway roots for the upcoming film Places, Please.
The film stars Streep as Lillian Hall, an actress who has never missed a performance. While in rehearsals for her next production, Lillian’s confidence is shaken and she is forced to reckon with the past.
Places, Please will shoot this summer in New York directed by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Michael Cristofer. He told Deadline,
“I wanted to create a valentine to the people who make theater, especially now, when across the world, theaters are shut down. It triggers something emotional about the past, present, and the people who make art and give their lives to achieve something so beautiful.
The script now is a love letter to people who fight to survive, survive and triumph. The world lines up against you, and you fight back.
Curiously in the story of the movie, there is an actress who is struggling to open a production of a play that happens to be The Cherry Orchard by Chekhov. In 1977, Meryl and I were both in a production on Broadway of that play on Broadway, so as I was working on the script I kept thinking, I should just send this to Meryl. She will be too busy, she will have something else to do. I sent it….
“I loved it and I thought about that production of The Cherry Orchard. It was at the Vivian Beaumont [Theater] and it starred the great Irene Worth.
That time in the theater was dominated by women who gave everything to their art, like Geraldine Page, Zoe Caldwell and Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave. People who at great sacrifice to themselves, devoted themselves to this impossible thing.
For me, that production was a real jumping off point. We had a blackout in New York, famously, and it happened during the play. The audience was sitting there, all prepped. And they brought out candles and put them on the footlights.
And Robert De Niro was in the audience that night, and he saw me in it, and he cast me in The Deer Hunter. And I went from there, and abandoned the theater, for a lot of different reasons. Mostly, for having a lot of children.
I don’t know how deep we want to go into this…?”
Streep, who has received a record-breaking 21 Academy Award nominations, is a three-time Oscar winner for Kramer vs. Kramer, Sophie’s Choice and The Iron Lady.
Between 1975 and 1977, she appeared in five Broadway productions and received a Tony nomination for her featured turn in 1976’s A Memory of Two Mondays/27 Wagons Full of Cotton. Her most recent turn in The Prom had her playing a Broadway diva. Streep has also been in Public Theater productions of The Taming of the Shrew, The Seagull and Mother Courage.
Cristofer won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play for The Shadow Box in 1977, the same year he met Streep when they appeared together in the The Cherry Orchard.
(Photos, Simply Streep, Netflix; via Deadline)