The actor Ben Stiller has gone from Zoolander to zookeeper in his return to the Broadway stage. Stiller is starring in The House of Blue Leaves, a play in which he had a small part during his last Broadway stint 25 years ago.
This time, Stiller plays the animal keeper Artie, whose plans for a music career are frustrated by his wife, who suffers from schizophrenia and is played by Edie Falco, late of The Sopranos. Also starring in the John Guare play is Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Stiller's family has a long association with the play: apart from Ben's boyhood role in 1986, his mother Anne Maera acted in the play in an off-Broadway production in 1971.
Critics have praised both leads in the present production, with The Hollywood Reporter applauding Falco and Stiller for their "affecting performances". The New York Times described Falco as "transfixing" and said Stiller's Artie had "an air of resignation that tells us he is going nowhere".
Stiller is best known for his comedy film parts in Zoolander, Tropical Thunder and There's Something About Mary. But his stage appearance continues his move towards more dramatic material, his last film appearance having been the comedy-drama Greenberg.
Meanwhile, it seems that Falco can do no wrong since her acclaimed performance as Carmela Soprano in the hit TV series, which ended in 2007. Her current television role as the star of the medical drama Nurse Jackie earned her the 2010 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress.
The House of Blue Leaves is scheduled to finish its Broadway run on June 30.