Director Philip Seymour Hoffman and playwright Stephen Adly Guirgus are back together again for the latest offering from Off Broadway's LAByrinth Theater Company, Our Lady of 121st Street. The drama will run Aug. 20-Sept. 14 at Center Stage/NY in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood.
It was at Center Stage two Augusts ago that Hoffman piloted Guirgus' Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train to success. The explosive prison story attracted enough attention to reopen in November 2000 at the CSC space on E. 13th Street (though it was not a CSC production). There was talk of a further transfer, but nothing came of it. Since then, the play has enjoyed an overseas run courtesy of London's Donmar Warehouse.
Our Lady looks as if it will be as popular as Jesus was. According to SmartTix, the run is already sold out. A benefit performances will be held on Aug. 28.
The cast of Our Lady will include a trio of Jesus veterans: David Zayas, Ron Cephas Jones and Elizabeth Canavan. Also in the cast are David Deblinger of LAByrinth's staging of John Patrick Shanley's Where's My Money?, Melissa Feldman, Mark Hammer, Portia [sic], Russell G. Jones, Adrian Martinez, Richard Petrocelli, Felix Solis and Liza Colon Zayas.
The action takes place at the Ortiz Funeral Home—an actual place in Harlem—where a group of childhood friends have gathered to pay their respects to Sister Rose, a "much feared but beloved nun" from their youth. In the past, Hoffman has shuttled from directing downtown to acting uptown. He will do so again this season. After mounting Our Lady, he stars opposite Natasha Richardson in the Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway production of Miss Julie.
Tickets are $15. Center Stage/NY is located at 48 W. 21st St. For more information on Our Lady, call (212) 206-1515.
—By Robert Simonson