Kerry Washington

Netflix’s plan of completely dominating the entertainment world is now stretching to the Great White Way. The streaming service announced they will be debuting an adaptation of a Broadway play called American Son, and they’ve secured Kerry Washington (Scandal) to reprise her role from the stage in the film version.

Written by playwright Christopher Demos-Brown and debuting on Broadway last year, American Son “centers on interracial parents who reunite in a Florida police station to search for answers about their missing teenage son.” Washington and Steven Pasquale, who played Mark Fuhrman in Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, are playing the parents – roles they previously played on stage. ComingSoon says actors Jeremy Jordan (Supergirl, Newsies) and Eugene Lee (Gem of the Ocean, Thunder Road) are also reprising their stage roles in this adaptation.

Tony Award winner Kenny Leon is returning to direct and produce the Netflix version of American Son. He’s directed several Broadway productions (including the award-winning revival of Fences, which became a Denzel Washington/Viola Davis movie in 2016) and has worked in film and television as well, notably directing the NBC productions of The Wiz Live! and Hairspray Live! in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Leon was attached to direct a movie remake of the teen-centric romantic comedy She’s All That back in 2015, but that project never made it into production.

American Son powerfully explores themes of family, love and identity,” said Cindy Holland, Netflix’s Vice President of Original Content. “We are honored to work with Kerry Washington, Kenny Leon, Christopher Demos-Brown and the entire cast to bring this story from the Broadway stage to our members around the world.”

Though there are touring companies that take Broadway productions all around the country, tickets can often be prohibitively expensive even for those who aren’t paying the same price as fans in New York City. Hopefully American Son becomes one of many Broadway adaptations that end up on Netflix, because for all of the talk about how it could result in the end of cinema as we know it, producing adaptations of Broadway plays and allowing them into people’s homes for the price of a regular subscription seems like a very cool thing. Think of the future authors, playwrights, and filmmakers these plays might inspire. I know Netflix as a company isn’t in this game for altruistic reasons – when it comes right down to it, this is just another batch of original content for them – but still, I hope this is only the beginning for their Broadway adaptations.

The Broadway run of the play ends in just a few days on January 27, 2019, and production on the adaptation begins in February.

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