In a recent cinematic production, Bradley Cooper played a talking raccoon (appropriately named Rocket Raccoon, as if the fur and mask weren’t a tip-off). Now, as he steps onto the Broadway stage, he has traded his whiskers and clever, amusing patter for an animal-titled role with far more serious implications. Opening this weekend on the Great White Way, you can see this star of the screen play John Merrick, the titular character in “The Elephant Man”. This limited engagement plays at the Booth Theater (222 W. 45th Street) until February 15.

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The Face of Adversity

“The Elephant Man” tells the story of a man named John Merrick, who lived in the Victorian Era. While he lived and traveled with one of the era’s infamous freak shows, his extreme physical condition set him apart even there. Eventually, he is taken in by a doctor, who wishes to study Merrick’s disease.

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The play shows the struggles Merrick went through to attempt to live his life with dignity. His condition did not even allow him to sleep laying down, for fear he would smother. As the doctor and patient form a bond through their work together, one must ask how deep the doctor’s care truly went, or if he were simply using a man at a disadvantage.

A Cast Full of Stars

It’s appropriate that Cooper once played a character whose nickname was “Face”. When most people think of the Elephant Man, they think of his disfigured visage, though his physical troubles went far beyond. This role has tempted out such interesting talent in the past as David Bowie and Mark Hamill.

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Also in the play are Academy Award nominee Patricia Clarkson, and Alessandro Nivola. Both these two actors performed with Cooper during the 2012 premiere of the show.

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Filed Under: The Elephant Man