From A Time to Kill to Casa Valentina, A Look at the 2013-14 Season: The Plays
By Playbill Staff
April 11, 2014
With the 2013-14 Broadway season coming to a close this month (April 24 is the cut-off date for eligibility for the 68th Annual Tony Awards), Playbill.com offers a four-part look at the current season. Here are this season's original plays.
From the John Grisham courtroom drama A Time to Kill, adapted for the stage by Rupert Holmes, to Harvey Fierstein's new comedy Casa Valentina, the final new play of the season, here is an overview of the 12 plays that have opened or will open in time for the 2014 Tonys, which will take place June 8 at Radio City Music Hall.
Show: A Time To Kill Theatre: John Golden Theatre Preview: Sept. 28, 2013 Opening: Oct. 20, 2013 Closing: Nov. 17, 2013 Creators: Original novel by John Grisham. Written by Rupert Holmes. Direction by Ethan McSweeny. Original Principal Cast: Sebastian Arcelus as Jake Brigance, John Douglas Thompson as Carl Lee Hailey, Ashley Williams as Ellen Roark, Tom Skerritt as Lucien Wilbanks, Patrick Page as Rufus R. Buckley, Tonya Pinkins as Gwen Hailey, Chiké Johnson as Ozzie Walls and Fred Dalton Thompson as Judge Noose. Synopsis: A Time to Kill, the popular courtroom drama, "tells the emotionally charged, now-iconic story of a young, idealistic lawyer, Jack Brigance, defending a black man, Carl Lee Hailey, for taking the law into his own hands following an unspeakable crime committed against his young daughter," according to press notes. "Their small Mississippi town is thrown into upheaval, and Jake finds himself arguing against the formidable district attorney, Rufus Buckley, and under attack from both sides of a racially divided city. This drama is a thrilling courtroom battle where the true nature of what is right and what is moral are called into question."
Show: The Snow Geese Theatre: Samuel J. Friedman Theatre Preview: Oct. 1, 2013 Opening: Oct. 24, 2013 Closing: Dec. 14, 2013 Creators: Written by Sharr White. Direction by Daniel Sullivan. Original Principal Cast: Mary-Louise Parker as Elizabeth Gaesling, Danny Burstein as Max Hohmann, Victoria Clark as Clarissa Hohmann, Evan Jonigkeit as Duncan Gaesling, Brian Cross as Arnold Gaesling, Christopher Innvar as Theodore Gaesling and Jessica Love as Viktorya Gryaznoy. Synopsis: "With World War I raging abroad, newly widowed Elizabeth Gaesling (Parker) gathers her family for their annual shooting party to mark the opening of hunting season in rural, upstate New York," press notes state. "But Elizabeth is forced to confront a new reality as her carefree eldest son (Jonigkeit) comes to terms with his impending deployment overseas and her younger son (Cross) discovers that the father they all revered left them deeply in debt. Together, the family must let go of the life they’ve always known."
Show: Outside Mullingar Theatre: Samuel J. Friedman Theatre Preview: Jan. 3 Opening: Jan. 23 Closing: March 16 Creators: Written by John Patrick Shanley. Direction by Doug Hughes. Original Principal Cast: Brían F. O'Bryne as Anthony Reilly, Debra Messing as Rosemary Muldoon, Peter Maloney as Tony Reilly and Dearbhla Malloy as aoife Muldoon. Synopsis: Tony winner O'Byrne and Emmy winner Messing, press notes state, "play Anthony and Rosemary, two introverted misfits straddling 40. Anthony has spent his entire life on a cattle farm in rural Ireland, a state of affairs that — due to his painful shyness — suits him well. Rosemary lives right next door, determined to have him, watching the years slip away. With Anthony’s father threatening to disinherit him and a land feud simmering between their families, Rosemary has every reason to fear romantic catastrophe. But then, in this very Irish story with a surprising depth of poetic passion, these yearning, eccentric souls fight their way towards solid ground and some kind of happiness. Their journey is heartbreaking, funny as hell, and ultimately deeply moving."
Show: Bronx Bombers Theatre: Circle in the Square Theatre Preview: Jan. 10 Opening: Feb. 6 Closing: March 2 Creators: Written and directed by Eric Simonson. Original Principal Cast: Peter Scolari as Yogi Berra, Francois Battiste as Reggie Jackson/Elston Howard, Chris Henry Coffey as Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dawes as Thurman Munson/Mickey Mantle, Christopher Jackson as Bobby Sturges/Derek Jeter, Keith Nobbs as Billy Martin/Mark, Tracy Shayne as Carmen Berra and John Wernke as Lou Gehrig. Synopsis: Here's how it's billed: "Ruth. Berra. Mantle. DiMaggio. Gehrig. Jeter. The New York Yankees have never had a shortage of star players… or controversy. Bronx Bombers is a new American play from the team behind Broadway's Lombardi that follows beloved icon Yogi Berra and his wife Carmen through a century of the team's trials and triumphs, bringing generations of Yankee greats together on one stage. As it celebrates and explores the timeless legacy of baseball’s most iconic team, Bronx Bombers takes a fascinating look at how and why the Yankees have remained so undeniably great… and so powerfully inspirational."
Show: All The Way Theatre: Neil Simon Theatre Preview: Feb. 10 Opening: March 6 Closing: June 29 Creators: Written by Robert Schenkkan. Directed by Bill Rauch Original Principal Cast: Bryan Cranston as President Lyndon Baines Johnson and Brandon J. Dirden as Martin Luther King, Jr. with Eric Lenox Abrams, Besty Aidem, J. Bernard Calloway, Rob Campbell, James Eckhouse and Peter Jay Fernandez. Synopsis: Here's how it's billed: "1963. An assassin’s bullet catapults Lyndon Baines Johnson into the presidency. A Shakespearean figure of towering ambition and appetite, the charismatic, conflicted Texan hurls himself into Civil Rights legislation, throwing the country into turmoil. Alternately bullying and beguiling, he enacts major social programs, faces down opponents and wins the 1964 election in a landslide. But in faraway Vietnam, a troublesome conflict looms. In the Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright’s vivid dramatization of LBJ’s first year in office, means versus ends plays out on a broad stage canvas as politicians and civil rights leaders plot strategy and wage war."
Show: Mothers and Sons Theatre: John Golden Theatre Preview: Feb. 23 Opening: March 24 Closing: June 8 Creators: Written by Terrence McNally. Directed by Sheryl Kaller. Original Principal Cast: Tyne Daly as Katharine Gerard, Frederick Weller as Cal Porter, Bobby Steggert as Will Ogden and Grayson Taylor as Bud Ogden-Porter. Synopsis: The play, according to press notes, "is a timely and provocative new play that explores our evolving understanding of family in today's world. At turns funny and powerful, Mothers and Sons follows a woman (Daly) who pays an unexpected visit to the New York apartment of her late son's ex-partner (Weller), who is now married to another man (Steggert) and has a young son. Challenged to face how society has changed around her, generations collide as she revisits the past and discovers a new connection she never expected."
Show: The Realistic Joneses Theatre: Lyceum Theatre Preview: March 13 Opening: April 6 Closing: July 6 Creators: Written by Will Eno. Directed by Sam Gold. Original Principal Cast: Toni Collette as Jennifer Jones, Michael C. Hall as John Jones, Tracy Letts as Bob Jones and Marisa Tomei as Pony Jones. Synopsis: Here's how the play is billed: "In The Realistic Joneses, we meet Bob and Jennifer and their new neighbors, John and Pony, two suburban couples who have even more in common than their identical homes and their shared last names. As their relationships begin to irrevocably intertwine, the Joneses must decide between their idyllic fantasies and their imperfect realities. This contemporary comedy explores how our joys and sorrows – and how we choose to face them – can come to define our lives."
Show: Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill Theatre: Circle in the Square Theatre Preview: March 25 Opening: April 13 Closing: June 1 Creators: Written by Lanie Robertson. Direction by Lonny Price. Original Principal Cast: Audra McDonald as Billie Holiday and Shelton Becton as Jimmy Powers. Synopsis: According to producers, "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill recounts Holiday's life story through the songs that made her famous. 1959, in a small, intimate bar in Philadelphia, Holiday puts on a show that unbeknownst to the audience, will leave them witnesses to one of the last performances of her lifetime. Through her poignant voice and moving songs, one of the greatest jazz singers of all-time shares her loves and her losses."
Show: Act One Theatre: Vivian Beaumont Theater Preview: March 20 Opening: April 17 Closing: June 15 Creators: Written and directed by James Lapine from the autobiography by Moss Hart. Original Principal Cast: Santino Fontana as Moss Hart, Bill Army as Eddie Chodorov, Steven Kaplan as Irving Gordon/Pianist, Laurel Casillo as Miss Hester Worsely/Ingenue/Roz/Mary, Will Brill as David Allen/Dore Schary/George, Chuck Cooper as Wally/Charles Gilpin/Max Siegel/Langston Hughes, Will LeBow as Augustus Pitou/Jed Harris/Slimowitz/Alexander Wolcott and Bob Ari as Ensemlbe. Synopsis: Here's how LCT bills the work: “Act One, James Lapine's new play from the classic autobiography by Moss Hart, deemed one of the finest books about 20th-century American theatre, eloquently chronicles the playwright/director's impoverished childhood and his determined struggle to escape poverty and forge a career in the theatre. A path which led to his collaboration with George S. Kaufman and their first great success, Once In A Lifetime.”
Show: The Cripple of Inishmaan Theatre: Cort Theatre Preview: April 12 Opening: April 20 Closing: July 20 Creators: Written by Martin McDonagh. Directed by Michael Grandage. Original Principal Cast: Daniel Radcliffe as Billy, Ingrid Craigie as Kate Osbourne, Pádraic Delaney as Babbybobby, Sarah Greene as Helen McCormick, Gillian Hanna as Eileen Osbourne, Gary Lilburn as Doctor, Conor ManNeill as Bartley McCormick and Pat Shortt as Johnnypateenmike. Synopsis: According to producers, "Set on the remote island of Inishmaan off the west coast of Ireland, word arrives that a Hollywood film is being made on the neighboring island of Inishmore. The one person who wants to be in the film more than anybody is young Cripple Billy (Radcliffe), if only to break away from the bitter tedium of his daily life. Martin McDonagh's comic masterpiece examines an ordinary coming of age in extraordinary circumstances and confirms his position as one of the most original Irish voices to emerge in the second half of the twentieth century."
Playbill Video interviews the cast of The Cripple of Inishmaan:
Show: The Velocity of Autumn Theatre: Booth Theatre Preview: April 1 Opening: April 21 Closing: Aug. 17 Creators: Written by Eric Coble. Directed by Molly Smith. Original Principal Cast: Estelle Parsons as Alexandra and Stephen Spinella as Chris. Synopsis: "The Velocity of Autumn swirls around Alexandra, a 79-year-old artist in a showdown with her family over where she'll spend her remaining years," press notes state. "In Alexandra's corner are her wit, her volcanic passion and the fact that she's barricaded herself in her Brooklyn brownstone with enough Molotov cocktails to take out the block. But her children have their own secret weapon: estranged son Chris who returns after 20 years, crawls through Alexandra's second floor window, and becomes the family's unlikely mediator. No sooner are the words 'Hi, Mom' uttered than the emotional bombs start detonating. The Velocity of Autumn is a wickedly funny and wonderfully touching discovery of the fragility and ferocity of life."
Show: Casa Valentina Theatre: Samuel J. Friedman Theatre Preview: April 1 Opening: April 23 Closing: June 15 Creators: Written by Harvey Fierstein. Directed by Joe Mantello. Original Principal Cast: Reed Birney as Charlotte, John Cullum as Terry, Gabriel Ebert as Jonathan/Miranda, Lisa Emory as Eleanor, Tom McGowan as Bessie, Patrick Page as George/Valentina, Larry Pine as The Judge/Amy and Nick Westrate as Gloria.. Synopsis: According to producers, "Back in 1962, most men went to the Catskill Mountains to escape the summer heat, but others took the two-hour drive to escape something else entirely: being men," press notes state. "Nestled in the land of dirty dancing and borscht belt comedy sat an inconspicuous bungalow colony that catered to a very special clientele: heterosexual men whose favorite pastime was dressing and acting as women. It was paradise for these men — white-collar professionals with families — to spend their weekends discreetly and safely inhabiting their chosen female alter egos. But when faced with the opportunity to become an official organization, these 'self-made women' had to decide whether public recognition would help them gain a place in open society or spell their own personal disaster."