John Lithgow Returns to Broadway for a Solo Tour de Force in ‘John Lithgow: Stories by Heart’

If you think John Lithgow is old now, wait until you see him roll out his ancestors. The veteran of stage and screens big and small brings the dead to life, and not in a zombie apocalypse way, in his one-man show “John Lithgow: Stories By Heart.” Over the course of an evening, Lithgow merges a story of his own acting father’s loss of the will to live with the recuperative powers of prose. Lithgow returns to Broadway to celebrate the ageless core aspect of entertainment, words and voice. Stories and characterizations are at the heart of horror, drama and comedy, whether written by William Shakespeare, Ring Lardner or P. G. Wodehouse. Daniel Sullivan directs the Roundabout Theatre Company production of the show which plays the American Airlines Theatre.

Lithgow “evokes memories of family, explores and expands the limits of the actor’s craft, and masterfully conjures a cast of indelible characters from classic short stories” according to the official synopsis. Lithgow performed the “one-man theatrical memoir” in repertory at Lincoln Center In 2008. He told one story a night until it developed into a full evening inhabited by 11 characters.

Lithgow comes from an acting family, who passed the profession down as an oral tradition. Lithgow grew up listening to his grandmother Ida B. Lithgow, born in 1882, who could recite for more than a half-hour straight without “stumbling over a single syllable.” His father, Arthur Lithgow, was an actor, director and producer.

An actors’ actor, Lithgow won a Tony Award for his 1973 Broadway debut in “The Changing Room.” He won another for his turn in the 2002 musical “Sweet Smell of Success,” and was nominated for Tony Awards for his roles in “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” “M. Butterfly,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “The Columnist.” He was last seen on Broadway in the 2015 revival of “A Delicate Balance” with Glenn Close, Bob Balaban and Martha Plimpton. Lithgow won five Emmy Awards for his work on “Amazing Stories,” “3rd Rock from the Sun” and “Dexter.” He is up for another Emmy Award for his turn as Winston Churchill in in Netflix’s “The Crown.” He was nominated for Academy Awards for his roles in “The World According to Garp” and “Terms of Endearment.”

The Roundabout Theatre Company production of “John Lithgow: Stories By Heart” opens Dec. 21, 2017 at the American Airlines Theatre. The limited engagement is slated to run through March 4, 2018.