Powerhouse comedians Robin Williams and Chris Rock will go head-to-head in Broadway acting debuts next year, with both starring at the same time in different comedies.
Williams will play a captive in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, a play set in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Rock will star in a new play about love, addiction and fidelity, opposite Bobby Cannavale, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Annabella Sciorra and Yul Vazquez.
Rock’s 14-week run will be in Stephen Adly Guirgis’ play The Motherf**ker With the Hat.
The play follows Cannavale’s character Jackie, a parolee who is newly sober, and his girlfriend, who is not.
Rock will play Jackie’s sponsor.
Tony Award winner Anna D. Shapiro will direct. The play is set to begin previews on March 22.
Williams’ play, a darkly comic look at the country as seen by a tiger, “just hit me hard,” the actor told The New York Times.
“I read it, and I was going: ‘I’m in. I can come into it and create it from the ground up.’ And I’m hairy enough to be a tiger, so that’s good,” Williams said.
Written by Rajiv Joseph, the play premiered in Los Angeles last year and went on to become a Pulitzer Prize finalist.
The Los Angeles Times said it marked “the breakthrough of a major new playwriting talent.”
The Broadway production is expected to open on March 31, but no theater has been booked or other cast members hired.
Williams has performed on Broadway in one-man stand up shows, and appeared with Steve Martin in the 1988 Off-Broadway production of Waiting For Godot.
But Bengal Tiger marks his first acting appearance on Broadway.