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Tomorrow’s Marquee Names, Now in the Making


Jonno Davies, 25, plays Alex DeLarge in “A Clockwork Orange,” in previews at New World Stages.

Phil Sharp

Jonno Davies

Alex DeLarge in “A Clockwork Orange”

This British actor was just out of drama school, attending the Edinburgh fringe festival and eager to see the buzzy stage adaptation of “A Clockwork Orange,” even though he had never watched the film or read the book. It was sold out. “I was quite gutted,” Mr. Davies said. But he sent a video of himself to the casting director and won the lead role for a one-week production in Norway. A week in Singapore followed, then five in London; between shows, he started a company leading Shakespeare workshops in schools. Now Mr. Davies, 25, who grew up in Milton Keynes, England, is making his New York stage debut. “I don’t play him as a villain, but as a very troubled young man who is trying to cure the world,” he said of the sociopathic Alex, played on film by Malcolm McDowell. “It’s up to the audience to make judgments, not me.”

(In previews; opens on Sept. 25 at New World Stages.)


The actress Erika Henningsen, 25.

Brigitte Jouxtel

Erika Henningsen

Cady Heron in “Mean Girls”

“It was always the sleepover movie,” Ms. Henningsen said of the 2004 film. “I didn’t even realize I could quote the entire thing.” Ms. Henningsen, a 25-year-old Moraga, Calif., native, is now playing the nice girl who falls in with the meanies, a role that suits her just fine, in the musical adaptation (with a book by Tina Fey, who wrote the film). “I certainly was on the outskirts of the cool crowd — that’s why I ended up doing theater,” she said. “We’re all weirdos.” She wowed the few people who saw the musical adaptation of “Diner” in Washington, and then became the youngest person to play Fantine in “Les Misérables” on Broadway. Now she’s thinking about how teen culture has changed since the film’s release. “When I’m on the subway, watching high school girls, it’s the same stuff — it just happens faster via technology.”

(Runs Oct. 31 to Dec. 3 at the National Theater in Washington; transferring to Broadway in March.)


The playwright Jiréh Breon Holder, 27.

Jenny Anderson

Jiréh Breon Holder

Playwright, “Too Heavy for Your Pocket”

Mr. Holder, a 27-year-old from Memphis who now lives in Atlanta, dashed off a first draft of the play for a homework assignment in a class taught by the playwright Sarah Ruhl at the Yale School of Drama. She urged him to write about family, and he seized on a comment made by his grandmother about a man who became a Freedom Rider. “Can you believe he threw away his education to hop on a bus?” he recalled her asking. An idea was born, about those who choose to participate in civil rights movements, and those who do not. The play had a production at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta; he has been rewriting for New York audiences who might be less familiar with Tennessee, where it is set.

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