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Network is a Broadway show based on the 1976 film about a fictional veteran news anchorman, Howard Beale. The highly acclaimed film took home the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay in 1977. Now, the satire is hitting the stage with Bryan Cranston leading the way. Cranston, perhaps best known for his role as Walter White on Breaking Bad, plays Beale and portrays his incredible on-air breakdown during a live news broadcast.
In the era of “fake news” and amidst growing public unrest, Network couldn’t be more timely in its Broadway debut. The show centers on a failing news anchorman, Howard Beale, who isn’t giving his network the ratings they need. After learning that he is to be fired soon, Beale begins to unravel on-air. In another broadcast, rather than apologizing, Beale goes off-script once again. Instead of firing him, network executives decide to capitalize on Beale’s anger.
During one live broadcast, Beale completely goes off the script, making for one of the most memorable scenes in both the movie and the play. Beale shouts that he is “mad as hell” and encourages his viewers to get mad with him. Soon, ratings soar and Beale becomes the most talked-about anchorman on television. Beale becomes known for his explicit commentary on the news itself and his straightforward account of what’s going on in the world.
What makes Network on Broadway so unique is that the creators have developed an immersive show to really give the audience a behind-the-scenes look into a news production. In fact, the show features camera crews who capture live footage of the performance in real time. This footage is projected on large screens onstage during the show. As an audience member, you may actually see yourself on the big screen as you watch.
The movie itself took home a number of awards, as did the cast members. Not only was Network awarded the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Film, it also entered the PGA Hall of Fame - Motion Pictures in 2002. Peter Finch, who played Howard Beale, was awarded the Academy Award for Best Actor and Faye Dunaway won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Finch and Dunaway also took home the Golden Globes for Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively.
The stage version of Network is not without its own accolades. The London run of this production was completely sold out, and Cranston was awarded the 2018 Olivier Award for "Best Actor" for his performance.
Network Show Dates
Network began previews at the Belasco Theatre on November 10, 2018, with an opening during the first week of December. Network originally began performances in November of 2017 at the Royal National Theatre in London. The NYC show is scheduled to close on Sunday, March 17, 2019, though dates are subject to change.
Network on Broadway is two hours long with no intermission. The original movie was rated R and the show is recommended for those aged 12 and older. Children under the age of 4 are not permitted in the theatre.