Director David Cromer Steps Back Into His Own Vision of Our Town for Last Weeks of Run

News   Director David Cromer Steps Back Into His Own Vision of Our Town for Last Weeks of Run Obie and Lucille Lortel Award winner David Cromer, who directed and originated the role of The Stage Manager in the record-breaking landmark production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town at Off-Broadway's Barrow Street Theatre, returns for the final three weeks starting Aug. 24.

Director David Cromer in Our Town
Director David Cromer in Our Town Photo by Carol Rosegg

Scott Parkinson, who appeared in the role last summer, will play matinee performances on Aug. 28 & 29 and Sept. 4 & 5. Cromer succeeds Academy Award-nominee Michael McKean who gave his final performance on Sunday evening, Aug. 22 following a three-week return engagement.

Producers Scott Morfee, Jean Doumanian and Tom Wirtshafter previously announced the play will give its final performance on Sunday evening, Sept. 12.

What makes the staging a "landmark"? The production reinvents the American classic by intermingling actors (most of them in street clothes or suggestions of costumes) and audience, keeping the houselights lit for much of the staging and introducing a surprise element in Act Three.

And then there is Cromer himself: He shakes off the natty tradition of the role, offering probably the least sentimental narrator you have ever seen in this much-revived work (a staple of schools and civic theatres). This is no Hal Holbrook. Rather than the avuncular tour guide, Cromer is the tough-love, deadpan, tell-it-like-it-is therapist who holds a mirror up and shows you that real life hurts. He's not twinkly or charming or emotional; he lets the audience do all the feeling.

At the Barrow Street, the iconic Stage Manager has been performed by seven actors, including Cromer, Parkinson, Jason Butler Harner, Stephen Kunken, Michael Shannon, McKean and Helen Hunt. The current cast of Our Town includes (in alphabetical order) Elizabeth Audley as Mrs. Soames, Jeremy Beiler as Simon Stimson, Robert Beitzel as Howie Newsome, Kati Brazda as Mrs. Webb, Will Brill as Joe Crowell, Jr, Nathan Dame as Sam Craig, Roger E. DeWitt as Joe Stoddard, Ann Dowd as Mrs. Gibbs, Emma Galvin as Rebecca Gibbs, Jennifer Grace as Emily Webb, Mark Hattan as Constable Warren, Jake Horowitz as Wally Webb, David Manis as Mr. Webb, Scott Parkinson as Professor Willard, James McMenamin as George Gibbs, Jeff Still as Doc Gibbs, Jason Yachanin as Si Crowell, with Dana Jacks, Lynn Laurence, Kathleen Peirce, Keith Perry and Mark Shock.

Cromer's award-winning staging of Wilder's play began performances on Feb. 17, 2009, with an official opening night on Feb. 26, 2009 where it received rave reviews at the downtown venue. Our Town went on to win the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Production and Outstanding Direction and Obie Award for Outstanding Director.

This Our Town entered its second year on Feb. 26 and became the longest-running production of the play in its 72-year history with its record-breaking 337th performance on Dec. 16, 2009. At closing, it will have given 14 previews and 644 regular performances.

Our Town is produced by Scott Morfee, Jean Doumanian, Tom Wirtshafter, Ted Snowdon, Eagle Productions, Dena Hammerstein/Pam Pariseau, The Weinstein Company, and Burnt Umber Productions.

The performance schedule is as follows: Tuesday–Friday at 7:30 PM, Saturday at 2:30 PM & 7:30 PM, Sunday at 2:30 PM & 7:30 PM. Tickets are priced at $69 & $49.50 and are available through SmartTix (212) 868-4444, www.smarttix.com, or at the Barrow Street Theatre box office (open at 1 PM daily). Student tickets at $20 are available on the day of performance only at the box office.

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