Uma Thurman Makes Her Broadway Debut in Updated ‘The Parisian Woman’

The Hudson Theatre production of “The Parisian Woman” has all the makings of a perfect storm in political theater. Previews began at the start of the “#MeToo” movement that followed the Harvey Weinstein sexual crime revelations. The play was written by Beau Willimon, the creator and former showrunner of the American edition of “House of Cards,” itself rocked by the scandal of its star and producer Kevin Spacey. The play marks the Broadway debut of Uma Thurman, the star of Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” movies, which were produced by Weinstein. “Truth isn’t obvious and the stakes couldn’t be higher,” promises the official synopsis, and live performance is a front line for political resistance. 

“A Parisian Woman” is “set in Washington, D.C., where powerful friends are the only kind worth having,” according to the synopsis. Willimon’s writing is forged from political friendships. He turned his experiences on the 2004 Howard Dean presidential campaign into the play “Farragut North,” which George Clooney adapted into the film “The Ides of March.” “The Parisian Woman” is inspired by the 1885 French farce “La Parisienne,” written by Henri Becque. It was first commissioned the Flea Theater and was first produced in 2013 at South Coast Repertory. Willimon updated the play for the current climate. The Broadway edition is directed by Pam MacKinnon, who won a Tony for staging the 2013 revival of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.”

Thurman plays Chloe, a “socialite armed with charm and wit, coming to terms with politics, her past, her marriage and an uncertain future.” Decked out in designer clothes, she spends her time reading young adult vampire novels and preying on susceptible judiciary members for her workaholic tax attorney husband, Tom (Josh Lucas). Thurman last graced the New York stage in 1999 when she performed in the Off-Broadway production of “The Misanthrope” at Classic Stage Company. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction.”

“A Parisian Woman” also stars Tony winner Blair Brown as Jeanette Simpson. Tony nominee Phillipa Soo plays Rebecca. Marton Csokas plays Peter. The sets were designed by Derek McLane. Jane Greenwood designed the costumes.

The Parisian Woman” is playing at The Hudson Theatre Nov. 9, 2017 through March 11, 2018.