Chinese Friends, Jon Robin Baitz's New Play, Opens May 27 at Playwrights Horizons

News   Chinese Friends, Jon Robin Baitz's New Play, Opens May 27 at Playwrights Horizons Personal and political secrets are at the heart of the world premiere of Jon Robin Baitz's Chinese Friends, opening at Playwrights Horizons May 27.
Bess Wohl, Will McCormack, and Tyler Francavilla (seated) in Chinese Friends
Bess Wohl, Will McCormack, and Tyler Francavilla (seated) in Chinese Friends Photo by Joan Marcus

The title of the Robert Egan-directed play refers to the board game of the same name, also known as Reversi or Othello, derived from the ancient Chinese game, Go. According to PH production notes, "In this vein, the play features a game of cagey one upsmanship that ensues when a young man (Tyler Francavilla) and two friends (Will McCormack and Bess Wohl) track down his long estranged father (Peter Strauss), a politico in exile, to demand the truth about their past. Deep-seated personal and political secrets become tactical set-pieces, complicating conflicting desires for revenge and rehabilitation. Chinese Friends is an unsettling parable about strife and sacrifice between fathers and sons at opposite ends of the political spectrum in an America 30 years hence."

Peter Strauss, who won an Emmy for his performance in "The Jericho Mile" and was also nominated for his performances in "Rich Man Poor Man" and "Masada," plays Arthur Brice, a role he tested in an earlier workshop at The Ojai Playwrights Conference. Strauss made his Broadway debut in Einstein and the Polar Bear, and he's appeared at The Mark Taper Forum in The Mind with the Dirty Man, The Trial of the Catonsville Nine and The Dance Next Door, and at Center Stage in A Cry of Players.

Baitz's plays include Ten Unknowns, A Fair Country, Three Hotels and The Substance of Fire.

Designers for Chinese Friends are Santo Loquasto (sets), Laura Bauer (costumes), Donald Holder (lighting) and Obadiah Eaves (sound and original music).

Previews began May 7 on the PH Mainstage. The limited engagement plays to June 13 at 416 West 42nd Street.

Tickets are $55. For tickets and information, call (212) 279-4200 or visit www.playwrightshorizons.org.

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