Lucas Hedges & Mike Faist to star in “Brokeback Mountain” musical

Lucas Hedges & Mike Faist to star in “Brokeback Mountain” musical
Mike Faist and Lucas Hedges Photo: @sohoplace

Earlier this month, one of the many urgent questions Twitter seemed to be grappling with was: Where is Lucas Hedges? The Boy Erased star who was nominated for a 2017 Academy Award for his supporting role in Manchester by the Sea has not appeared in film role since 2020, leading fans to put out a social media APB.

Today, we got iron-clad confirmation: Hedges is alive and well and set to star opposite Mike Faist in a West End stage adaptation of Brokeback Mountain.

Variety reports that Hedges will play Ennis, the role made famous by the late Heath Ledger in director Ang Lee’s 2005 Oscar-winning film adaptation of author Annie Proulx’s 1997 short story. Grammy and Emmy winner Faist, who is perhaps best known for his role as Riff in Steven Spielberg’s 2021 remake of West Side Story, will take on the role of Jack Swift (a.k.a. Jack Nasty), played by Jake Gyllenhaal in the film.

According to Variety, the production will play at West End venue @sohoplace from May 10 through August 12. Like Proulx’s original story, which was also adapted into a 2014 Opera, it will center on the clandestine love affair between two midwestern cowboys in the 1960s.

It also is a musical…sort of. Or, as it is billed on @sohoplace’s website, “a play with music.” Written by Ashley Robinson and directed by Jonathan Butterell, the show will feature original country songs by out singer-songwriter Dan Gillespie Sells of the English rock band The Feeling. Sells and Butterell previously created the hit West End musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. Faist, of course, got his start in the original Broadway production of Newsies and earned a 2017 Tony nomination for his role in Dear Evan Hanson. In Brokeback Mountain, however, Sells’s songs will be performed by singer Eddi Reader and her band.

“Dan Gillespie Sells’ powerful and beautiful songs, sung by ‘The Balladeer,’ give 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,” Robinson said in a statement.

“The material and this complex story is inspiring to compose for,” Sells said. “I’ve really enjoyed reconnecting with a genre of music I grew up with and using it to serve the drama of each moment.”

Brokeback Mountain has been recreated in several different forms, each with its own distinctive moods and impact,” Proulx said. “Ashley’s script is fresh and deeply moving, opening sight lines not visible in the original nor successive treatments.”

Don’t expect a happy ending to be among those previously unopened sightlines, though. Proulx has said that her story is essentially a tragedy about homophobia, insisting that fans who re-imagine a happily-ever-after for Jack and Ennis have “completely misunderstood the story.

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