‘Succession’ Star Sarah Snook Signs On To Perform 26 Characters In “Cine-Theater” Version Of ‘The Picture Of Dorian Gray’ In London

Succession’s Sarah Snook is returning to the stage in London, and possibly Broadway, to take on an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, a dark tale of a portrait that ages as its subject remains forever young.

The Emmy-nominated actress will have the gargantuan task of playing all 26 characters in Dorian Gray when it opens at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London’s West End in January 2024 for a limited 10-week season.

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It’s a mammoth undertaking for a solo artist who will be required to be on stage for two hours without an interval.

The show was devised by Kip Williams, the artistic director of Australia’s celebrated Sydney Theatre Company. It premiered in Sydney with actress Eryn Jean Norvill creating the part — or parts, because there are 26 of them.

Those connected with it have described the show as “cine-theatre.”

Snook will begin preparing and rehearsing in the fall and she’ll be asked to film characters and then interact with them onstage. I haven’t seen it so I’m unable to fully explain, but those who caught the production in Sydney raved about it and described a set full of screens with the thespian on the boards talking to footage of themselves dressed as various characters.

Snook deservedly won plaudits for her performance as scheming Shiv Roy in the HBO drama Succession, which ended its four-season run in May. Few know that she’s also a superb theater performer. Several years ago I caught her in a production of Ibsen’s The Master Builder, starring alongside Ralph Fiennes at the Old Vic.

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As it happens, Jeremy Strong, who played big brother Kendall Roy, will be leading a revival of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People on Broadway, also early in 2024, adapted by Amy Herzog and directed by Sam Gold.

Other members of the fictional Roy family are also headed for theater runs:

Brian Cox, who played patriarch Logan Roy, will star with Patricia Clarkson in Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night running at Wyndham’s Theatre in London from March 19 through June 8. It has already sold 75 percent of its seats; it’s a phenomenal advance sale, even more so for a four-act marathon drama.

Harriet Walter, Logan’s ex-wife and Waystar shareholder Lady Caroline (Shiv’s mother) on Succession, is also brushing up on the classics. She will headline a revival of Federico Garcia Lorca’s The House of Bernardo Alba at the National Theatre’s Lyttelton house beginning in November. It’s based on an adaptation by Alice Birch. 

All we need now is for Kieran Culkin to star in some Greek tragedy about a lad with mummy issues, and the Roy theater troupe will be complete.

The London production of The Picture of Dorian Gray is costing a bundle and a hot star was required to help it recoup.

Snook is that star; many feel that the fourth season of Succession belonged to her. My sense is that once tickets go on sale she’ll beat “daddy” Brian Cox at the box office.

Fascinating, when you think about it, that Snook has chosen to do Dorian Gray, a prime example of late-Victorian Gothic fiction that explored dark desires and forbidden pleasures in 1890s London.

In part, Succession also studied devotion to decadence and sensuous pleasures.

If the show takes off in London then, from what I understand, it will be headed to Broadway for a season. However, any transfer would be dependent on Snook and her family: she recently announced the birth of her first child.

Producers Michael Cassel and Adam Kenwright have contracted the play to run at the Haymarket from January 23-April 13.

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