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China Doll

Closed January 31, 2016

"Mamet loves writing this kind of savage dialogue and Pacino loves delivering it."


Why See China Doll?


Al Pacino makes his long-awaited return to Broadway in a brand-new play especially written for him by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet. Last seen on Broadway in 2012-13 in Mamet's production of Glengarry Glen Ross, two-time Tony-winning Pacino will star in this two-hander with up and coming actor Christopher Denham ("Master Harold"...and the boys) as his assistant Carson.

Two Titans of American Theatre

One of America's foremost playwrights, Mamet has received various theatrical accolades for his 21 plays including Tony Awards and a Pulizter. The Pulitzer was garnered for Glengarry Glen Ross in 1985, where it ran for over a year; Pacino in fact starred in the 2012 revival of the play as the down-at-heel salesman Shelley Levene.

The distinctive cynical, street-smart edge dialogue in Mamet's plays are now known in theater circles as "Mamet Speak", and places emphasis on certain words to create the desired tension, something that Mamet attributes to British playwright Harold Pinter.

Pacino himself has shown delight at originating the role of Ross, and marks a strong working relationship between actor and playwright. Of the casting decision, Pacino said, "For me over the years the relationship and the collaboration with David Mamet has been one of the richest and most rewarding. We've done four projects together and the opportunity to create a new character in the David Mamet canon was an opportunity I couldn't pass up."

WHAT IS china doll ABOUT?

A frequent collaborator with Mamet, Pacino will originate the role of a semi-retired multi-millionaire Mickey Ross, who has just bought an airplane for his much-younger fiancee. Just as he is about to leave the office one last time, his assistant patches through a call. What transpires next will test the mettle of any person about to embark on a life-changing event.


Pacino won his first Tony Award as a Featured Actor in 1969's Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?, which incidentally was his first outing on the Broadway stage!

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Additional Information


Previews from: 21 October 2015

Opening night: 4 December 2015


Suitable for ages 12+

Run time

2 hours & 10 minutes with one intermission

And before you stop reading

images: Jeremy Daniel

Cast and Creative


Al Pacino as Mickey Ross
Christopher Denham as Carson


Directed by Pam MacKinnon
Scenic design by Derek McLane
Lighting design by Russell H. Champa
Costume design by Jess Goldstein

What we thought

Dull disappointing UNPOLISHED

Sadly, China Doll does not show off her directorial talents

Pacino is no stranger to the stages of New York City and has worked with Mamet twice before, however China Doll feels dated, derogatory, and a missed opportunity for this hugely talented actor to shine.

Read full review
Nicola Quinn

Nicola Quinn


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