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Radiohead’s Thom Yorke to be heard on Broadway this fall

By David Cote
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His songs have cropped up in many a movie and TV episode (about one hundred, according to IMDB) but now Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke will be composing for the theater. No, it’s not a jukebox musical about a depressed android who skulks around parties muttering to himself, staring at pretty girls and complaining about fake plastic trees and airbags and amnesia (I’m available for book writing, Thom!) Instead, Yorke has penned incidental music for the upcoming Broadway revival of Harold Pinter’s 1971 relationship drama, Old Times.

Presented by the Roundabout Theatre Company, Old Times will star Clive Owen as a man who meets the best friend (Kelly Reilly) of his wife (Eve Best). Mind games, sexual tension and mysterious dialogue ensue. Veteran Pinter actor Douglas Hodge directs the production. Enlisting Yorke for Pinter is surprising but makes perfect sense: both specialize in characters (moods) that convey paranoia, helplessness, spasms of cruelty and profound disconnection.

In the press release Hodge agrees: “The play itself is about memory and love—Thom’s music works backwards and forwards and plays with time and repetition in the same way Pinter does. In true Thom Yorke–style, the music is epic, heartbreaking, irresistible and complex.  I’m hopeful this collaboration will result in a new kind of theatergoer coming to our show.”

“It’s been a pleasure working with Doug on my first stage production,” adds Yorke. “I’ve enjoyed exploring through music the script’s themes of love and memory as well as Pinter’s rhythms, twists and turns.”

Previews start September 17. Tickets are available by calling 212-719-1300 or by visiting roundabouttheatre.org.

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