Network is a play by Lee Hall, adapted from the 1976 film of the same name which had a Academy Award-winning screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky and was directed by Sidney Lumet.
The play premiered in the Lyttleton Theatre at the National Theatre in London on 13 November 2017 (following previews from 4 November) and ran until 24 March 2018. The production was directed by Ivo Van Hove and starred Bryan Cranston as Howard Beale.
The play features set and lighting design by Jan Versweyveld, video design by Tal Yarden, costume design by An D’Huys, music by Eric Sleichim and sound design by Tom Gibbons. It was produced in association with Patrick Myles, David Luff, Ros Povey and Lee Menzies and supported by Marcia Grand for the memory of Richard Grand. The play also features a live onstage television studio and an onstage restaurant titled Foodwork, where audience members can enjoy a three-course meal while watching the play.
The production premiered on Broadway at the Belasco Theatre, with previews beginning on 10 November 2018 and officially opening on 6 December 2018. Originally, the production was scheduled to run for 18 weeks only to March 17, but has extended the run to April 28, 2019. Originally, the transfer was scheduled to play the Cort Theatre, but following the early closure of Gettin’ the Band Back Together, producers announced that the play would open at the Belasco Theatre. Cranston reprises the role of Howard Beale alongside Tatiana Maslany in her Broadway debut as Diana Christensen and Tony Goldwyn as Max Schumacher.
Belasco Theatre, (12/06/2018 – 4/28/2019)
First Preview: Nov 10, 2018
Total Previews: 28
Opening Date: Dec 06, 2018
Closing Date: Apr 28, 2019
The plot closely follows that of the 1976 film but uses stage devices and audio visual technology to immerse the audience as participants.  The audience becomes part of the play both as diners and a studio audience. With news anchorman Howard Beale, whose new bulletins simply aren’t pulling in the viewing figures like they used to. His last bulletin takes a turn, and suddenly, Beale is TV’s next big thing. The film, which starred Peter Finch as Beale, is famous for its “I’m Mad as Hell” rant. The distance between fact and fiction is reduced, mimicking the blurring of truth and fiction in contemporary news media.
The London production of the play received mostly rave reviews, singling out Cranston’s performance. Great reviews in New York give Network an 8.3 score on broadwayworld.com.
Cast and Characters
|Characters||London (2017)||Broadway (2018)|
|Howard Beale, anchorman||Bryan Cranston|
|Harry Hunter, associate producer||Charles Babalola||Julian Elijah Martinez|
|Max Schumacher, Head of News||Douglas Henshall||Tony Goldwyn|
|Frank Hackett, executive||Tunji Kasim||Joshua Boone|
|Louise, Schumacher’s wife||Caroline Faber||Alyssa Bresnahan|
|Ed Ruddy, chairman||Michael Elwyn||Ron Canada|
|Diana Christensen, Director of Programming||Michelle Dockery||Tatiana Maslany|
|Schlesinger, her researcher||Evan Milton||Susannah Perkins|
|Nelson Chaney, executive||Tom Hodgkins||Frank Wood|
|Jack Snowden, presenter||Robert Gilbert||Barzin Akhavan|
|Arthur Jensen, Head of UBS||Richard Cordery||Nick Wyman|
|Director||Ian Drysdale||Bill Timoney|
|Sheila, production assistant||Paksie Vermon||Nicole Villamil|
|Floor Manager||Stuart Nunn||Jason Babinsky|
|Continuity Announcer||Patrick Poletti||Henry Stram|
|Secretary||Isabelle Della-Porta||Camila Canó-Flaviá|
|ELA Member||Danny Szam||Eric Chayefsky|
Awards and Nominations
Original London Production
|2018||Critics’ Circle Theatre Award||Best Actor||Bryan Cranston||Won|
|WhatsOnStage Awards||Best Actor in a Play||Bryan Cranston||Nominated|
|Best Video Design||Tal Yarden||Nominated|
|Laurence Olivier Awards||Best New Play||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Bryan Cranston||Won|
|Best Lighting Design||Jan Versweyveld||Nominated|
|Best Sound Design||Eric Sleichim||Nominated|
Network the Movie 1976
Network is a 1976 American satirical film written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet, about a fictional television network, UBS, and its struggle with poor ratings. The film stars Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, and Robert Duvall and features Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty, and Beatrice Straight. The film won four Academy Awards, in the categories of Best Actor (Finch), Best Actress (Dunaway), Best Supporting Actress (Straight), and Best Original Screenplay (Chayefsky).
In 2000, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. In 2002, it was inducted into the Producers Guild of America Hall of Fame as a film that has “set an enduring standard for American entertainment”. In 2005, the two Writers Guilds of America voted Chayefsky’s script one of the 10 greatest screenplays in the history of cinema. In 2007, the film was 64th among the 100 greatest American films as chosen by the American Film Institute, a ranking slightly higher than the one AFI had given it ten years earlier.
- Brown, Mark (2017-01-27). “Bryan Cranston to star in National Theatre production of Network“. The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-07-10.
- Kitchener, Shaun (2017-01-27). “Network, classic 1976 movie, returns with Bryan Cranston in London stage adaptation”. Daily Express. Retrieved 2017-07-10.
- “New for 2017 and 2018”. www.nationaltheatre.org.uk. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
- Wiegand, Chris (2017-09-08). “The food Network: play starring Bryan Cranston becomes immersive dining experience”. The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
- McPhee, Ryan. ” ‘Network’, Starring Bryan Cranston, Extends Broadway Engagement” Playbill, December 12, 2018
- Clement, Olivia (2018-09-10). “Emmy Winner Tatiana Maslany to Join Bryan Cranston in Network on Broadway”. Playbill. Retrieved 2018-09-11.
- “Tony Goldwyn & Frank Wood to Join Bryan Cranston & Tatiana Maslany in Network on Broadway”. Broadway.com. Retrieved 2018-11-11.
- “Network | National Theatre”. www.nationaltheatre.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-03-25.
- Trueman, Matt (2017-11-14). “London Theater Review: Bryan Cranston in ‘Network‘“. Variety. Retrieved 2018-03-25.
- ” ‘Network’ starring Bryan Cranston at the National Theatre – review round-up” The Stage, 16 November 2017
Network at the Internet Broadway Database