9/11-Inspired Drama The Guys Plays Across the United States

News   9/11-Inspired Drama The Guys Plays Across the United States
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Anthony La Paglia and Sigourney Weaver in the film "The Guys,"
directed by Jim Simpson.

Photo by Robin Holland/ContentFilm

"We have no idea what wonders lie hidden in the people around us." As the nation mourns the many who died on this date one year ago, many theatres across the country and even on Broadway have voluntarily decided to go dark. Others will commemorate the day with a performance of Anne Nelson's 9/11-inspired drama The Guys (as quoted above).

Actress Sigourney Weaver will reprise the role she originated in a special Lincoln Center Theatre free performance of The Guys opposite Stephen Lang at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre. Terrence Mann and Charlotte d'Amboise will star in a production of The Guys for the Carolina Arts Festival in Raleigh, NC. Chicago's Goodman Theatre and Northlight Theatre Company will co-present another staging ofThe Guys with B.J. Jones and Mary Beth Fisher.

Meanwhile, in Canada, the film version of The Guys featuring Weaver and fellow former cast member Anthony LaPaglia under the direction of Bat artistic director (and Weaver's husband) Jim Simpson will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Sept. 11.

The Guys, based on Nelson's real experiences, is a dialogue between a fire captain — who has lost most of his men in the Sept. 11 attack — and an editor who helps him write the eulogies as she struggles herself to come to terms with the event.

New York City's Bat Theatre Company was a little-known Off-Off Broadway troupe headed up by artistic director Simpson. But in December 2001, when the theatre was still struggling in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, the company — just blocks from Ground Zero — workshopped The Guys penned by first-time playwright Anne Nelson. The play — which became a full production — revitalized the little company with its big name casts.

The New York casts of The Guys has included Bill Murray, Weaver, Bill Irwin, LaPaglia, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Swoosie Kurtz, Tom Wopat, Amy Irving, Carol Kane, Marlo Thomas and Stephen Lang. The Los Angeles production has featured Robbins, Helen Hunt, Sarandon, Philip Baker Hall, Jeanne Tripplehorn, David Hyde Pierce and Glenne Headley. Robbins and Sarandon also performed the work at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Tickets to the Sept. 11 performance of The Guys at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, 150 West 65 Street, will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis with a limit of two tickets per person, beginning at 12 noon Sept. 11 at the box office.

— by Ernio Hernandez