Famed Architect Is at Crossroads in NYC Premiere of Frank's Home

News   Famed Architect Is at Crossroads in NYC Premiere of Frank's Home The many facades of Frank Lloyd Wright — selfish, hedonistic, godlike — come to light in Manhattan with the Jan. 30 opening of Richard Nelson's Frank' Home.

Robert Falls directs the New York City premiere of the play about Wright re-connecting with his adult children while scoping out work in Los Angeles in 1923. The production is presented in association with The Goodman Theatre, where Peter Weller (as the famed architect) and company gave the drama its world premiere last fall.

Frank's Home — set on an angled earthen plane that is shifted to horizontal to represent several outdoor California locations — began at Playwrights Horizons' Mainstage Theater Jan. 13. Frank's Home marks the first time the work of Tony Award-winning director Falls (Death of a Salesman, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Aida) has been seen at PH.

Performances continue to Feb. 18 at Playwrights Horizons, 416 W. 42nd Street.

Playwright Nelson's history with Playwrights Horizons includes the world premieres of the musicals James Joyce's The Dead (with Shaun Davey, Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical) and My Life with Albertine (with Ricky Ian Gordon), and the plays Franny's Way, The Vienna Notes (Obie Award) and Jungle Coup; the New York premiere of Rodney's Wife; and the American premiere of Goodnight Children Everywhere (Olivier Award for Best Play). He is the theatre company's most produced writer.

In Frank's Home, "it is summer 1923, and architect Frank Lloyd Wright has recently left Chicago for California, determined to embrace Hollywood's youthful zest and mend broken relationships with his adult children. Having recently completed his latest 'wonder of the world' — Tokyo's Imperial Hotel — Wright is poised to settle down and embrace his new home. But his splintered family still holds deep-seated resentments. Frank's Home is a lyrical, heartbreaking story about one of our greatest, if less than perfect, visionaries — a man who created a new architectural vocabulary, but couldn't create a home for himself and his family." Frank's Home continues the playwright's interest in family dynamics, and the idea of adult children trying to solve the mysteries of their families' personal lives as they struggle with their own journey in the adult world.

The cast also features Broadway veteran Harris Yulin as Wright's mentor, the now dissipated Louis Sullivan; Mary Beth Fisher as Miriam Noel, Frank's mistress; Maggie Siff as Catherine, Frank's daughter; Jay Whitaker as Lloyd, Frank's son; Jeremy Strong as William, Frank's assistant; Chris Henry Coffey as Kenneth, Catherine's husband; and Holley Fain as Helen, a schoolteacher.

Peter Weller starred in the "Robocop" films, and was featured last season in the hit series "24" as terrorist collaborator Christopher Henderson. He began his career in New York theatre and made his debut in the Broadway premiere of David Rabe's Sticks and Bones, a role he also played in London. Other Broadway credits include Summer Brave (William Inge's rewrite of Picnic), The Merchant of Venice and Otto Preminger's production of Full Circle. Off-Broadway he appeared in Rabe's Streamers, David Mamet's The Woods, Lanford Wilson's Serenading Louie and, most recently, The Exonerated. He earned a 1994 Academy Award nomination for Best Live Action Short for his directorial debut, "Partner."

The production features scenic design by two-time Tony nominee Thomas Lynch, costume design by Tony Award winner Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Michael Philippi and original music and sound design by Richard Woodbury. Production stage manager is Barclay Stiff.

The performance schedule for Frank's Home is Tuesdays through Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2:30 & 8 PM and Sundays at 2:30 & 7:30 PM. Tickets are $65.

For more information about Playwrights Horizons' productions, mission and ticket discounts, visit www.playwrightshorizons.org.

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The new play is among a number of recent stage projects that share the subject of the brilliant and troubled architect (1869-1959), known for his horizontal "prairie style" designs. Also fascinated by the man are the creators of the opera Shining Brow; Work Song: Three Views of Frank Lloyd Wright; the solo show Frank Lloyd Wright; and the musical Renewing Wright, among others.

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