The Visitor, a new musical by composer Tom Kitt, librettist Brian Yorkey, and book writer Kwame Kwei-Armah, has pushed back its first preview dates for the second time this month. The Public Theater now intends for the production to start October 16 on the Off-Broadway company's Newman Theater stage, instead of the previously announced October 14. Opening night is still set for November 4.
The show has seen multiple schedule changes, starting with a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic (performances were initially slated to begin in March 2020). The Daniel Sullivan-helmed production was then scheduled for an October 7 start this month; a week before, however, the Public announced a week-long postponement as cast and creatives engaged in active dialogues to establish community guidelines and ensure the show's themes of race and immigration were addressed with equity and responsibility. Now, the Public shared in a tweet that the production was "not able to complete the dress rehearsal and final preparations to present the show to an audience," prompting the cancellation of the October 14 and 15 performances.
Based on the 2007 Tom McCarthy film, The Visitor follows Walter (Tony winner David Hyde Pierce), a white college professor who, upon traveling to New York, encounters Tarek (Tony winner Ari'el Stachel) and Zainab (Alysha Deslorieux), an immigrant couple from Syria and Senegal, respectively. Their interaction—and, eventually, the arrival of Tarek’s mother Mouna (Jacqueline Antaramian)—brings to light the experiences and struggles of undocumented individuals seeking to make America a home.
Among topics explored in conversations between company members and Public Theater staff were the concern over centering a middle-aged white man as a protagonist in a story about immigrant experiences and company-wide access to resources to help fully participate in telling such stories.
The production features choreography by Lorin Latarro, set design by David Zinn, costumes by Toni-Leslie James, lighting by Japhy Weideman, sound design by Jessica Paz and Sun Hee Kil, video design by David Bengali and Hana S. Kim, hair and make-up design by Matthew Armentrout, prop management by Claire M. Kavanah, fight direction by Thomas Schall, orchestrations by Jamshied Sharifi, music direction by Rick Edinger, and music contracting by Tomoko Akaboshi. James Latus serves as production stage manager.
Performances are currently scheduled through November 28. The Public's 2021–2022 lineup will continue in November with Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s cullud wattah’s, also rescheduled from last year.