Fabulation, a Sold Out Phenom at Playwrights Horizons, Gets Added Shows to July 11

News   Fabulation, a Sold Out Phenom at Playwrights Horizons, Gets Added Shows to July 11 Lynn Nottage's satiric, seriocomic new play, Fabulation, about the fall of a hot New York City publicity exec, will extend to July 11, and tickets are expected to disappear quickly.
Charlayne Woodard in Fabulation.
Charlayne Woodard in Fabulation. Photo by Joan Marcus

The Playwrights Horizons world premiere was already sold out by its June 13 opening. Added shows took it to July 2. After critics raved, the new extension was announced.

Those tix (on sale June 18) are expected to go fast, as the staging is in PH's tiny 96-seat Peter Jay Sharp Theatre on West 42nd Street in Manhattan. A further extension beyond July 11 is not expected in the space, as it would require a renegotiation of the contract that might not be practical for a house that size.

The play was originally announced to continue only to June 27. This is the second Nottage play to excite the theatre community this year: Her Intimate Apparel played Roundabout Theatre Company's Off-Broadway home this spring, and is now headed to Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.

Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine is a related variation on Intimate Apparel, set 100 years later and addressing some of the same conflicts and tensions. (You don't need to see one play to understand the other, observers say.)

Why did Fabulation sell out before opening? PH subscribers had dibs on tickets, and Nottage was hot with theatregoers after Intimate Apparel bowed, so they snapped up Fabulation seats before getting the OK from critics. Given the enthusiastic reviews for Fabulation, one imagines commercial producers may be circling the production for a wider future.

Kate Whoriskey directs and Charlayne Woodard stars as Undine, "a successful publicist who, upon finding herself pregnant and broke, is plunged into a topsy-turvy world of welfare mothers and drug addicts, and forced to confront the family she left behind," according to PH notes.

Also in the cast are Daniel Breaker (a recent Juilliard grad), Saidah Arrika Ekulona (Well), Stephen Kunken (Broadway's Proof, Keen Company's The Journals of Mihail Sebastian), Robert Montano (On the Town, Kiss of the Spider Woman), Melle Powers (making her Off-Broadway debut), Keith Randolph Smith (King Hedley II) and Myra Lucretia Taylor (Nine, Electra).

The story takes a penniless and pregnant Undine, whose suave husband has taken all her dough, back to her working-class Brooklyn family. Undine reinvented herself over the years; she was born Sharona Watkins and raised in the Brooklyn projects. After erasing her past, she didn't look back — until now.

Undine gets caught in a tide of people and events both comic and harrowing. Among the characters she encounters: A failed poet brother named Flow, clueless parents who make their livings as security guards, a drug addicted grandmother, a gaggle of addicts at a rehab meeting, surly welfare office workers, former girlhood pals and more. At one point she's scrambles up a chain link fence in an alley, chased by cops.

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Nottage's Intimate Apparel won the 2004 New York Critics Circle Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off Broadway Play, the 2004 John Gassner Award and an Obie Award for its star Viola Davis. Nottage's Crumbs From the Table of Joy has been seen around the country.

Woodard is a Tony Award nominee (Ain't Misbehavin') and Obie Award winner. She trained at the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago and is a member of Actors Studio. As a playwright, Woodard's works include Pretty Fire, Neat and In Real Life.

Designers are Walt Spangler (set), Kaye Voyce (costumes), David Weiner (lighting) and Ken Travis (sound).

Playwrights Horizons' Peter Jay Sharp Theater is at 416 West 42nd Street.

Fabulation ends the 2003-04 season at Playwrights Horizons, under the leadership of artistic director Tim Sanford and managing director Leslie Marcus.

Fabulation was developed with assistance from the Sundance Institute Theatre Laboratory.

Nottage's plays include Mud, River, Stone (finalist, Susan Smith Blackburn prize, presented at Playwrights Horizons); Crumbs from the Table of Joy (NAACP Award nomination); Por'knockers; Poof! (Heideman Award); and Las Meninas.

Director Kate Whoriskey's recent credits include the world premiere of Lynn Nottage's Intimate Apparel (Center Stage), the world premiere of Drowning Crow (Goodman Theatre), The Rose Tattoo (Goodman), Macbeth (California Shakespeare Festival), The Collected Works of Billy the Kid (co-directed with Des McAnuff, La Jolla), Desire Under the Elms (Perseverance Theatre), Stop Kiss (Geva), The Crucible (NYU), Hedda Gabler (Oregon Shakespeare Festival) and Orpheus Descending (South Coast Rep), as well as The Lady from the Sea and The Chairs (both at Intiman). Upcoming projects include Heartbreak House (The Goodman) and The Clean House (South Coast Rep).

The Fabulation performance schedule is Tuesdays through Fridays at 7:30 PM, Saturdays at 2:30 & 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2:30 & 7 PM. Tickets are $35. Student rush tickets are available for $12 (cash only, day of performance, subject to availability).

For subscription and ticket information call (212) 279 4200 or visit www.playwrightshorizons.org.