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Braff targets ‘Bullets over Broadway’

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POSTED June 27, 2013 10:24 p.m.

NEW YORK (AP) — Zach Braff will make his Broadway debut next year in a musical adaptation of Woody Allen's crime caper "Bullets Over Broadway." The only person who might be more excited than Braff is his dad.

"If my father loved two things most, it was Woody Allen movies and Broadway musicals," Braff said by phone from Los Angeles. "When I called my father, I said, 'Are you sitting down?'"

Written by Allen and Douglas McGrath, the story follows a struggling young playwright who is forced to cast a mobster's talentless girlfriend in his latest drama. Braff will play the hero, portrayed by John Cusack in the 1994 film.

"It's thrilling," Braff says. "I keep waking up expecting it to be a dream."

Five-time Tony Award-winner Susan Stroman will direct and choreograph the show, which will start performances in March 2014 at the St. James Theatre. The show will feature a full orchestra playing music of the 1920s.

The musical sees Braff return to his acting roots: He played Allen's son in one scene when he was 18 in the film "Manhattan Murder Mystery" before going to Northwestern University to study film.

"If you would have asked me a couple months ago 'What are your dreams as an actor?' I would have said, 'I'd love to do a Broadway musical one day and I'd love to work with Woody Allen again.' When I got the call from Woody and Susan Stroman, my head sort of exploded."

The rest of the cast will be made up of Vincent Pastore ("The Sopranos"), Betsy Wolfe ("The Mystery of Edwin Drood"), Lenny Wolpe ("The Drowsy Chaperone") and Helene Yorke ("Grease").

Braff grew up in northern New Jersey and caught the performing bug from his father, a lawyer who did community theater for fun. Though he's never done musical theater professionally, Braff often sang as the daydreaming Dr. John "J.D." Dorian on "Scrubs" and he won a Grammy Award for best compilation soundtrack for "Garden State."

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