Poster for the National Theatre production
Written byLee Hall (play)
Paddy Chayefsky (film)
Date premiered13 November 2017 (2017-11-13)
Place premieredLyttleton Theatre, National Theatre, London
Original languageEnglish

Network is a play by Lee Hall, adapted from the 1976 film of the same name which had an Academy Award-winning screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky and was directed by Sidney Lumet.

Production history

Bryan Cranston as Howard Beale during the play in the National Theatre production.
Bryan Cranston as Howard Beale during the play in the National Theatre production.

The play premiered in the Lyttleton Theatre at the National Theatre in London on 13 November 2017 (following previews from 4 November) and ran until 24 March 2018. The production was directed by Ivo Van Hove and starred Bryan Cranston as Howard Beale.[1][2]

The play features set and lighting design by Jan Versweyveld, video design by Tal Yarden, costume design by An D'Huys, music by Eric Sleichim and sound design by Tom Gibbons. It was produced in association with Patrick Myles, David Luff, Ros Povey and Lee Menzies and supported by Marcia Grand for the memory of Richard Grand.[3]

The play also features a live onstage television studio and an onstage restaurant titled Foodwork, where audience members can enjoy a three-course meal while watching the play.[4]

The production premiered on Broadway at the Belasco Theatre, with previews beginning on 10 November 2018 and officially opening on 6 December 2018. Originally, the production was scheduled to run for 18 weeks only to March 17, but has extended the run to April 28, 2019.[5] Originally, the transfer was scheduled to play the Cort Theatre, but following the early closure of Gettin' the Band Back Together, producers announced that the play would open at the Belasco Theatre. Cranston reprises the role of Howard Beale alongside Tatiana Maslany in her Broadway debut as Diana Christensen[6] and Tony Goldwyn as Max Schumacher.[7]


The plot closely follows that of the 1976 film but uses stage devices and audio visual technology to immerse the audience as participants. [8] The audience becomes part of the play both as diners and a studio audience. The distance between fact and fiction is reduced, mimicking the blurring of truth and fiction in contemporary news media.[9]


The London production of the play received mostly rave reviews, singling out Cranston's performance.[10]

Cast and characters

The cast and crew of the National Theatre production (dated December 19, 2017)
The cast and crew of the National Theatre production (dated December 19, 2017)
Characters London (2017) Broadway (2018)
Howard Beale, anchorman Bryan Cranston
Harry Hunter, associate producer Charles Babalola Julian Elijah Martinez
Max Schumacher, head of News Douglas Henshall Tony Goldwyn
Frank Hackett, executive Tunji Kasim Joshua Boone
Louise, Schumacher's wife Caroline Faber Alyssa Bresnahan
Ed Ruddy, chairman Michael Elwyn Ron Canada
Diana Christensen, director of Programming Michelle Dockery Tatiana Maslany
Schlesinger, her researcher Evan Milton Susannah Perkins
Nelson Chaney, executive Tom Hodgkins Frank Wood
Jack Snowden, presenter Robert Gilbert Barzin Akhavan
Arthur Jensen, head of UBS Richard Cordery Nick Wyman
Director Ian Drysdale Bill Timoney
Sheila, production assistant Paksie Vermon Nicole Villamil
Floor manager Stuart Nunn Jason Babinsky
Continuity announcer Patrick Poletti Henry Stram
Technicians Tobi Bamtefa
Andrew Lewis
Beverly Longhurst
Rebecca Omogbehin
Gina Daniels
Nicholas Guest
Joe Paulik
Jeena Yi
Secretary Isabelle Della-Porta Camila Canó-Flaviá
ELA member Danny Szam Eric Chayefsky

Awards and nominations

Original London production

Year Award Category Nominee Result
Critics' Circle Theatre Award[11] Best Actor Bryan Cranston Won
WhatsOnStage Awards Best Actor in a Play Bryan Cranston Nominated
Best Video Design Tal Yarden Nominated
Laurence Olivier Awards Best New Play Nominated
Best Actor Bryan Cranston Won
Best Lighting Design Jan Versweyveld Nominated
Best Sound Design Eric Sleichim Nominated

Original Broadway production

Year Award Category Nominee Result
Tony Awards[12] Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play Bryan Cranston Won
Best Direction of a Play Ivo van Hove Nominated
Best Scenic Design of a Play Jan Versweyveld Nominated
Best Lighting Design of a Play Jan Versweyveld and Tal Yarden Nominated
Best Sound Design of a Play Eric Seichim Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards[13] Outstanding New Broadway Play Nominated
Outstanding Projection Design (Play or Musical) Tal Yarden Nominated
Outstanding Sound Design (Play or Musical) Eric Sleichim Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Play Bryan Cranston Won
Drama League Awards[14] Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical Nominated
Distinguished Performance Award Bryan Cranston Won


  1. ^ Brown, Mark (2017-01-27). "Bryan Cranston to star in National Theatre production of Network". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-07-10.
  2. ^ Kitchener, Shaun (2017-01-27). "Network, classic 1976 movie, returns with Bryan Cranston in London stage adaptation". Daily Express. Retrieved 2017-07-10.
  3. ^ "New for 2017 and 2018". Retrieved 2017-06-07.
  4. ^ Wiegand, Chris (2017-09-08). "The food Network: play starring Bryan Cranston becomes immersive dining experience". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  5. ^ McPhee, Ryan. " 'Network', Starring Bryan Cranston, Extends Broadway Engagement" Playbill, December 12, 2018
  6. ^ Clement, Olivia (2018-09-10). "Emmy Winner Tatiana Maslany to Join Bryan Cranston in Network on Broadway". Playbill. Retrieved 2018-09-11.
  7. ^ "Tony Goldwyn & Frank Wood to Join Bryan Cranston & Tatiana Maslany in Network on Broadway". Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  8. ^ "Network | National Theatre". 6 June 2017. Retrieved 2018-03-25.
  9. ^ Trueman, Matt (2017-11-14). "London Theater Review: Bryan Cranston in 'Network'". Variety. Retrieved 2018-03-25.
  10. ^ " 'Network' starring Bryan Cranston at the National Theatre – review round-up" The Stage, 16 November 2017
  11. ^ "2017 Results | Critics' Circle Theatre Awards". 2018-01-31. Retrieved 2020-12-06.
  12. ^ "Hadestown, Ain't Too Proud & Tootsie Lead 2019 Tony Award Nominations".
  13. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (2019-04-23). "Hadestown, Tootsie & Oklahoma! Lead 2019 Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations". Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  14. ^ McPhee, Ryan (2019-05-17). "Network's Bryan Cranston, Hadestown Among 2019 Drama League Award Winners". Retrieved 2019-05-17.