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Robert Downey Jr. will make Broadway debut in Ayad Akhtar’s ‘McNeal’

The Lincoln Center Theater-produced play will open in September.

Robert Downey Jr. (Credit: Steve Granitz/FilmMagic)

Lincoln Center Theater (LCT) has announced a new production for its 2024-2025 Broadway season. “McNeal,” an original play by Pulitzer Prize-winning and Tony Award-nominated writer Ayad Akhtar, will play the nonprofit’s Vivian Beaumont Theater this fall. Tony winner Barlett Sher will direct the production, which will star Academy Award winner Robert Downey Jr. in his Broadway debut. “McNeal” will begin previews on Sept. 5 and open on Sept. 30 for a limited run through Nov. 24. “McNeal” will be produced by LCT, under the leadership of producing artistic director André Bishop in association with Team Downey.

“McNeal” follows writer Jacob McNeal, played by Downey, whose work is informed by both his challenging familial relationships and his fascination with artificial intelligence.

Downey won the 2024 Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for the 2023 film “Oppenheimer.” He received additional nominations in 2009 for “Tropic Thunder” and 1993 for “Chaplin.” He has appeared as Marvel’s Iron Man in 10 films, beginning with 2008’s “Iron Man” and ending with 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.” While “McNeal” will mark his first Main Stem appearance, Downey was seen Off-Broadway in the 1983 musical “American Passion.”

“McNeal” is the third Main Stem collaboration between Akhtar and LCT, which produced the playwright’s “Disgraced,” winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a 2015 Tony nominee for Best Play. Akhtar’s “Junk” was produced on Broadway by LCT in 2017.

The creative team for “McNeal” will include Tony-winning scenic designer Michael Yeargan with Jake Barton (the latter of whom will also provide projection design), Tony-nominated costume designer Jennifer Moeller, Tony-winning lighting designer Donald Holder, Tony-nominated sound designer Justin Ellington with Beth Lake and stage management by Jennifer Rae Moore.

Additional casting for “McNeal” will be announced.