A Walk in the Woods, With Kathleen Chalfant, Opens Off-Broadway Tonight

News   A Walk in the Woods, With Kathleen Chalfant, Opens Off-Broadway Tonight
 
The first major New York revival of Lee Blessing's A Walk in the Woods, featuring a gender reversal in the lead character, officially opens Off-Broadway Sept. 30 following previews that began Sept. 9. 

Kathleen Chalfant
Kathleen Chalfant

Kicking off the 15th anniversary of Keen Company, A Walk in the Woods continues through Oct. 18 at The Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row.

Directed by Jonathan Silverstein, the production stars Tony nominee Kathleen Chalfant (Angels in America, Wit) and Paul Niebanck (Blood and Gifts, In the Next Room or the vibrator play).

Here's how A Walk in the Woods is billed: "Lee Blessing's Pulitzer Prize nominated drama, is a revealing debate on the hope and ultimate futility of high-stakes politics. Two super power arms negotiators — one a cynical Russian veteran and the other an idealistic American newcomer — meet informally in the woods after long, frustrating hours at the bargaining table."

"Since 2000, Keen has presented stories of people doing their best during challenging times. This season, we continue that tradition by presenting two revivals that explore the relationship between the personal and political. I have wanted to direct A Walk In The Woods since assisting a production early in my career at George Street Playhouse. In light of recent events, Lee's smart, entertaining and deeply personal treatment of a complex issue is just as important today as it was when originally presented," artistic director Silverstein said in a previous statement. "I am especially excited to welcome back two of our talented and distinguished alumni, Kathleen Chalfant and Paul Niebanck, back to the Keen stage for Woods. In a twist, Kathy will be playing the Russian Botvinnik, originally written for a man but here adapted for a woman. Kathleen is unique and fearless actor and I have no doubt she will bring a refreshing and truly original interpretation to the role."

“I'm honored to have A Walk in the Woods return to New York with the Keen Company. It's precisely the sort of visionary, innovative theatre for the task. I still feel the thrill of Kathleen Chalfont's unforgettable performance in Wit. It's been a dream of mine to work with her ever since,” Blessing added. "In recent decades more and more women have reached the highest echelons of government in western developed nations. People like Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, Janet Yellen and Christine Lagarde routinely wield responsibilities, which not long ago belonged only to men. Given such developments, it seems to me informative rather than jarring to re-envision a character from my play as a woman rather than a man." A Walk in the Woods has scenic design by Scott Bradley, lighting design by Josh Bradford, costume design by Jennifer Paar and sound design by M.L. Dogg.

The Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Aves. For more information, visit keencompany.org

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