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Robert Downey Jr. sparks reaction with major career announcement involving wife Susan Downey: 'I'll knock the dust off quick'

The Oscar winner is still riding high from the success of Oppenheimer

Ahad Sanwari
Ahad Sanwari - New York
Senior WriterNew York
May 7, 2024
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Robert Downey Jr. is making big moves! Not long after claiming his first Academy Award for Oppenheimer, and making his return to the small screen with HBO's The Sympathizer, he's bringing his talents to a different stage, with the involvement of his wife Susan Downey.

The star was last on stage for a production of American Passion at the Joyce Theatre in NYC, Off-Broadway, though that show closed as quickly as it opened, and his fans are now enthusiastic to see him finally get his splashy big stage debut.

He is currently set to team up once again with Team Downey, the entertainment production company he runs with his wife, which is in the midst of producing the aforementioned HBO series.

Based on the 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Viet Thanh Nguyen, the Iron Man star plays four different characters, all antagonistic, requiring him to transform drastically.

The series premiered on April 14 to general acclaim, with three more episodes left to air before the miniseries concludes on May 26.

However, the actor, 59, has announced his big move to a new medium, sharing on Tuesday that he will be making his Broadway debut this fall for a limited run of the play McNeal.

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Hollywood stars on Broadway right now

Rachel McAdams during the opening night curtain call for the new Manhattan Theatre Club play "Mary Jane" on Broadway at The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on April 21, 2024 in New York City.© Getty Images
The Tony-nominated "Mary Jane"

As A-listers continue making their move beyond entertainment mediums, here are the biggest Hollywood stars you can catch this season in the theater...

  • Rachel McAdams in the play Mary Jane
  • Eddie Redmayne in the revival of Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club
  • Daniel Radcliffe in the musical Merrily We Roll Along
  • Jessica Lange in the play Mother Play
  • Sarah Paulson in the play Appropriate
  • Steve Carell making his Broadway debut in Uncle Vanya

He will play the title role of Jacob McNeal, heralding the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar, to be directed by Bartlett Sher.

The play will be produced in association with Team Downey, the entertainment company run by Robert and his wife, and will debut at the Lincoln Center Theater. Previews begin on September 5, and will open on September 30, concluding on November 24.

MORE: Robert Downey Jr.'s wife Susan reveals relationship rule that's paramount to their 18-year marriage

The Marvel star shared the big news on social media, excitedly writing: "I am making my Broadway debut in the new play MCNEAL at Lincoln Center Theater!"

Ayad Akhtar speaks on stage at the 2023 PEN America Literary Gala at American Museum of Natural History on May 18, 2023 in New York City.© Getty Images
"McNeal" was written by Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar

"I knew I wanted to do Ayad's new play before I was done reading it, then hearing Bart would be directing at the Beaumont theater sealed the deal. It's been 40 years since I was last on 'the boards', but hopefully I'll knock the dust off quick. MCNEAL is a timely and important story about the future of creatives, and I intend to do it justice."

MORE: Robert Downey Jr.'s lookalike son sparks strong reaction from fans as career is revealed

They left responses to his announcement like: "I had to run my eyes to make sure I was reading correctly! This Theatre Geek will be there! Been waiting for years for you to do this," and: "I don't have the slightest clue what the play is about, but consider my tickets bought," plus: "You do ALL characters and storylines justice."

robert downey jr and wife susan downey© Getty Images
The play will be produced in association with Robert and Susan's production company Team Downey

Per Deadline, the synopsis for the play reads: "Good writers borrow, great writers steal. Jacob McNeal is a great writer, one of our greatest, a perpetual candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature."

MORE: Robert Downey Jr. shares peek of intimate birthday celebration surrounded by rarely-seen children

"But McNeal also has an estranged son, a new novel, old axes to grind and an unhealthy fascination with Artificial Intelligence. Pulitzer Prize-winner Ayad Akhtar's new play is a startling and wickedly smart examination of the inescapable humanity – and increasing inhumanity – of the stories we tell."

Robert Downey Jr. accepts the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture award © Getty Images
"It's been 40 years since I was last on 'the boards', but hopefully I'll knock the dust off quick."

Team Downey is currently also in the midst of producing the upcoming crime thriller film Play Dirty, which has Mark Wahlberg and LaKeith Stanfield attached to the lead roles. Robert, at one point, was set to star in the film before settling into an executive producer role.

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