Tony Award winner Joe Mantello (Take Me Out, Assassins) directs the Off-Broadway production, which features Josh Charles ("Sports Night"), Robert Foxworth (Twelve Angry Men), Kendra Kassebaum (Wicked) and — manning the phones with great efficiency — Tony Award nominee and Obie Award winner Jayne Houdyshell (Well, Wicked).
According to MTC, "At the start of a typical day in the Northeast Office, Beverly [played by Jayne Houdyshell] deals effortlessly with ringing phones and her colleague's romantic troubles. But the appearance of a charming rep [Charles] from the Central Office disrupts the friendly routine. And as the true nature of the company's business becomes apparent, The Receptionist raises disquieting, provocative questions about the consequences of complicity with evil."
The 75-minute play is part domestic comedy about the mundanity of working in an office (going downstairs for a bagel, buying a cake for a colleague's birthday, placing a Beanie Baby by your computer monitor), and part dark allegory for contemporary America's nature to trust Big Brother, shrug off civil liberties and look the other way — all in the name of order and safety.
In its development, The Receptionist was presented as a staged reading in Hartford Stage's Brand:NEW festival in 2006-07. MTC has two Off-Broadway homes at City Center — Stage I and Stage II, at 131 W. 55th Street. Mantello's last assignment for MTC in Stage I was the critically acclaimed production of David Harrower's Blackbird. Mantello is currently represented on Broadway with Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of The Ritz by Terrence McNally.
Adam Bock's plays include The Thugs (Obie Award), Swimming in the Shallows (three BATCC Awards, Clauder Award), Five Flights (Glickman Award), The Typographer's Dream, The Shaker Chair and Three Guys and a Brenda (Heideman Award). His plays have been commissioned, developed and produced in New York City by Playwrights Horizons, Second Stage, SoHo Rep, Primary Stages, The Vineyard, Rattlestick, Clubbed Thumb, and regionally at the O'Neill, the Humana Festival and elsewhere. He is the resident playwright at Encore Theater, a Shotgun Players artistic associate and a New Dramatist member playwright. He is currently writing a screenplay for Scott Rudin/Miramax.
Bock's play The Drunken City will be produced at Playwrights Horizons in spring 2008, and had its world premiere at the Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca, NY.
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The world premiere of Theresa Rebeck's Mauritius is currently playing at MTC's Broadway home at the Biltmore Theatre. New York City Center has been MTC's Off-Broadway home since 1984.
Daniel Sullivan, a close associate of MTC and director of numerous award-winning MTC productions (Rabbit Hole, Brooklyn Boy, Sight Unseen, Proof, Psychopathia Sexualis) is acting artistic director for the 2007-08 season.
At City Center Stage II, Pumpgirl begins performances this week.