Hot Print: Suzan-Lori Parks' New Play Is Big Seller at Public Theater; Run Nearly Sold-Out

News   Hot Print: Suzan-Lori Parks' New Play Is Big Seller at Public Theater; Run Nearly Sold-Out There are only 100 or so public tickets left to the world premiere of Suzan-Lori Parks' new play at The Public Theater, and the work has not officially opened yet.
S. Epatha Merkerson as Hester in Fucking A.
S. Epatha Merkerson as Hester in Fucking A. (Photo by Michal Daniel)

Titled Fucking A, which some newspapers are refusing to print, the new play by the 2003 Pulitzer Prize winning writer of Topdog/Underdog began performances Feb. 25 at the Public's Anspacher Theater. Opening is set for March 16. Performances at the moment are expected to continue to March 30, though an extension is expected if schedules can be worked out.

S. Epatha Merkerson, the "Law & Order" star with a theatre background, will star along with Mos Def, Daphne Rubin Vega and Bobby Cannavale. Michael Greif directs.

The play is a new take on "The Scarlet Letter," the Nathaniel Hawthorne novel that also inspired her In the Blood.

Here, Hester Prynne is Hester Smith (Merkerson), an abortionist. Smith believes her only son (Mos Def) has been wrongly imprisoned and has devoted her life to freeing him.

The show will include 10 original songs by Parks, which are laced throughout the text (the first time she has integrated songs into her text). The singing talents of Rubin-Vega and Mos Def, both recording artists, are exploited, and musicians are part of the experience. The song list is as follows: "Hard Times"
"My Vengeance"
"Working Woman's Song"
"My Little Army"
"Hunter's Creed"
"Gilded Cage"
"My Vengeance"
"My Little Enemy"
"A Meat Man Is a Good Man To Marry"
"The Making of a Monster"

The cast also includes Susan Blommaert, Peter Gerety, Jojo Gonzalez, Jesse Lenat, Manu Narayan, Chandler Adrian Parker and Michole Briana White.

Merkerson appeared in the Broadway productions of Tintypes and The Piano Lesson before taking the role of a top cop on "Law & Order."

Mos Def, known as a rap singer, made the jump to the legit stage when The Public's staging of Topdog/Underdog moved to Broadway in 2002 after a run downtown in 2001 (Don Cheadle starred Off Broadway in the role Mos Def would eventually take over). Jeffrey Wright appeared both downtown and on Broadway in that 2002 Pulitzer Prize winner by Parks.

Daphne Rubin-Vega was the original Mimi in Rent, which was directed by Greif, and starred in Two Sisters and a Piano at the Public Theater with Bobby Cannavale.

Tickets are $45. For more information, call (212) 239 6200 or consult www.publictheater.org.