On Sept. 11, 2001, Artie Van Why, a former actor who had joined the corporate world, watched the horrific events of the day unfold before his eyes at his office opposite the World Trade Center. Van Why left his job in the Manhattan law firm to reevaluate his life, and he chronicled his personal experiences in the new solo play, which he also performs.
Richard Masur, known as a character actor, directs That Day in September.
"When I first read That Day in September, I was most struck by the fact that Artie Van Why has managed to tell the story of this enormous moment in our nation's history in such a personal way," director Masur said in production notes. "He makes the events of 9/11 and its aftermath very human, and incredibly accessible. That is no small achievement. I spent 2-1/2 months volunteering at Ground Zero, and I was very moved by Artie's story. That's why I chose to get involved in this project."
The work received its world-premiere production at Hollywood's Celebration Theatre in September 2002. The play's East Coast debut was at Off-Off-Broadway's Pantheon Theater April 9-18.
The Lamb's is not new to Van Why: As a young actor, it was one of the first theatres he performed in. The Lamb's Theatre Company produces and operates the theatrical aspects of the Stanford White-designed facility, at 130 W. 44th Street, which is owned by a church.The church and the theatre company operate independently. Currently playing at the third-floor, 350-seat mainstage is The Prince and the Pauper, the family-friendly musical.
That Day in September, in the first-floor 99-seat space, opens July 23. Performances continue to Aug. 31.
Designers are Marjorie B. Kellogg (set) and Ann Wrightson (lighting).
The Lamb's Theatre Company's producing director is Carolyn Rossi Copeland, managing director is Cindy Dupree and associate producer is Jeff Matisoff.
Performances play 8 PM Monday-Saturday, 2 PM Wednesday and Saturday. After July 23 the schedule is 8 PM Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 2 PM Wednesday and Saturday, 3 PM Sunday.
Tickets are $30. For tickets, call (212) 239-6200. For more information, visit www.lambstheatre.org.
According to the Lamb's website, "The Neo Georgian style building at 130 West 44th Street in Manhattan was designed by noted architect Stanford White and built in 1904-1905. The building was originally home to the Lambs [sic] Club, America's oldest theatrical club [which still exists, minus the apostrophe, but not in the 44th Street facility]. The first floors provided common areas for dining and leisure. In the third floor theatre, members of The Lambs staged 'gambols' for the entertainment of the club. These productions were often the beginnings of Broadway musical.
"The Lambs is said to be where composer Frederick Loewe and lyricist Alan Jay Lerner (the team responsible for Camelot and My Fair Lady) first met. Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) wrote his first play here, and Richard Rodgers was often heard writing material for a new musical with the working title Away We Go! — later to be changed to Oklahoma!
"The upper floors of the Lambs were rooms for residents. John Phillip Sousa, Fred Astaire, and John Wayne all lived at the Lambs."