Broadway Bow for Guirgis' Jesus Is Delayed

News   Broadway Bow for Guirgis' Jesus Is Delayed
Stephen Adly Guirgis' high-voltage prison drama, Jesus Hopped the A Train, which last autumn was announced for a Broadway premiere in fall 2004, has put off its Times Square debut.
Stephen Adly Guirgis
Stephen Adly Guirgis

A spokesman for Off-Broadway's LAByrinth Theatre Company, where the work originated, said the play's star, John Ortiz, and director, Philip Seymour Hoffman, have taken on other commitments. Ortiz will be starting a new television series in the fall, and Hoffman will be acting in a film.

John Gould Rubin and Ron Kastner are the producers behind the proposed Broadway engagement. The Broadway staging was to have mirrored the one seen Off-Broadway, which was directed by Hoffman and starred Ortiz, Ron Cephas Jones, David Zayas, Elizabeth Canavan and Salvatore Inzerillo.

Rubin told Playbill On-Line that Circle in the Square would be the ideal Broadway theatre.

The production would have been the biggest splash yet for Guirgis, whose career has rocketed in the past three years. Since Jesus debuted, his Our Lady of 121st Street was given a premiere by LAByrinth and transferred to a shortish, but praised commercial run at the Union Square Theatre.

Jesus first met audiences in the summer of 2000 at the tiny Center Stage in Chelsea. An enthusiastic reaction led to a remounting at the East 13th Street usually occupied by CSC Rep, from Nov. 21 to Dec. 21, 2000. A third New York staging was rumored, but instead, the play shifted to the 2001 Edinburgh Theatre Festival. From there, it journeyed south to London's the Donmar Warehouse, for a run in early 2002, eventually transferring to a open run at the Arts Theatre. Since then, its has played at various regional houses. A Train takes place in a northern city prison, and is primarily the story of two inmates. One, Angel Cruz, is a sweet, confused youth who rashly shot a local cult leader in retaliation for the guru's having drafted his best friend. In jail, he meets Lucius Jenkins, a Bible-quoting fitness freak who preaches a philosophy of positive thinking while busily trying to beat an attempt to extradite him to Florida for a series of serial murders. Trying to drive them apart is Valdez, a thuggish, abusive prison guard, while Angel's female lawyer, Mary Jane Hanrahan, goes a couple steps over the legal line to secure her client's acquittal.

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