Guirgis' Jesus to Hop the A Train to Broadway in Fall 2004

News   Guirgis' Jesus to Hop the A Train to Broadway in Fall 2004
 
Stephen Adly Guirgis' high-voltage prison drama, Jesus Hopped the A Train, which was the first major success for Off-Broadway's LAByrinth Theatre Company, will make its next stop on Broadway in fall 2004, a spokesperson for LAByrinth told Playbill On-Line.
Stephen Adly Guirgis, author of Jesus Hopped the A Train.
Stephen Adly Guirgis, author of Jesus Hopped the A Train. Photo by Aubrey Reuben

John Gould Rubin and Ron Kastner will produce. No theatre has been selected at this point. The Broadway staging will mirror that seen Off-Broadway, which was directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman and starred John 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. He added it hadn't been decided whether the show would be a limited engagement or an open run.

The production will be 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.

Should the Broadway berth come off, Jesus will have gone through a four-year incubation period. The play 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. Critics have embraced Guirgis expletive-filled, serio-comic writing style, while detractors have noted a choppy, scattershot sense of structure. A LAByrinth spokesperson said Guirgis would be reworking the script for the Broadway production.

LAByrinth's Dutch Heart of Man is currently playing at the Public Theater.

The <i>A Train</i> crew: (l-r) John Ortiz, Elizabeth Canavan, director Philip Seymour Hoffman, David Zayas and Ron Cephas Jones.
The A Train crew: (l-r) John Ortiz, Elizabeth Canavan, director Philip Seymour Hoffman, David Zayas and Ron Cephas Jones. Photo by Aubrey Reuben
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