“The Shark Is Broken” is a Broadway play documenting the technical issues that came with making “Jaws.” Many fans of the 1975 hit movie know about production issues and the animatronic shark, Bruce, malfunctioning. The play was co-written by Joseph Nixon and Ian Shaw, son of “Jaws” star Robert Shaw.
Shaw is joined by Colin Donnell (“Arrow“) and Alex Brightman (“Beetlejuice: The Musical”) as Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss, respectively. You’ll note those are the actor’s names, not the characters they played in the film. This is because the play offers a unique perspective- telling the making of and behind the scenes drama rather than a recreation of the film it’s self.
Shaw credits his inspiration for the play to the monologue his father famously rewrote for the movie. Originally he didn’t want to turn the behind-the-scenes story into a major play. A realization and courage from family and friends helped him pursue the project. “When Joseph Nixon and I wrote it, we realized that we had a funny and touching story that was more universal than I had feared,” Shaw said.
This entire show sounds like it is extremely meta and takes some serious acting skills. Playing a character is hard enough, but adding on the layer of your character playing another character is just difficult. Even Brightman calls this role his most difficult work to date.
Shaw claims the play is an homage to everyone who made “Jaws” into the film that essentially invented summer blockbusters. “It is also a poem about the three men who hunted the shark, and to anyone who struggles to create stories that have meaning,” Shaw said.
“The Shark Is Broken” opens on Broadway August 10th.