The company announced to subscribers recently that it will make Greenwich Village's Cherry Lane Theater its permanent home in 2016. Primary Stages has had many homes around Manhattan over the years, including a building in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood and the 59E59 complex in east Midtown. Its productions are currently presented at The Duke on 42nd St.
Starting in February, the final two productions of the season, Dan O’Brien’s The Body of an American and Ike Holter’s Exit Strategy, will be produced at the Cherry Lane Theatre located on Commerce Street.
The historic Cherry Lane Theater building was erected in 1836 and used for a variety of commercial purposes, included a box factory, before being renovated as a theatre in 1924. Since then it has served as home for many playwrights and actors at the dawn of their careers. It was home to The Living Theatre and early plays by Edward Albee and Eugene Ionesco. Beckett’s Happy Days and Endgame had their New York premieres there. Among the many other hit shows that played there were the original Off-Broadway runs Dutchman, Godspell, Closer Than Ever and True West.
Unspeakable, a "dramatic fantasia" inspired by the life of comedy star Richard Pryor, is scheduled for an Oct. 6 premiere in Chicago. The New York Times reported that the seven-character play, which debuted at the New York International Fringe Festival back in 2005, will star James Murray Jackson Jr. as Pryor, and will be directed by Rod Gailes, who co-wrote the script with Jackson. The show will play the Broadway Playhouse as part of the "Broadway in Chicago" series.
The announcement came three years after a previous production derailed. The planned 2012 production was canceled "due to major funding that did not come through," according to a statement at the time. Film actor Isaiah Washington had been scheduled to star in the role of Moody, but is not associated with this new production.
The Times said the new producing lineup consists of Tenacity Park, Creative Mind Entertainment, OBC DreamTheatre, Stefani Nicole Von Huben and Kenneth Schapiro.
The play covers a span of 61 years, including Pryor’s tormented childhood in Peoria, IL, where he grew up in a brothel his grandmother owned and where his mother worked as a prostitute.
Matthew Broderick, recently seen in Terrence McNally’s It's Only a Play, will return to Broadway this fall in A.R. Gurney’s comedy Sylvia, which will now begin previews Oct. 2 at the Cort Theatre. Broderick will portray the owner of the title character, a dog, who played by an actor.
The casting makes for an interesting irony. The 1995 Off-Broadway premiere of the play memorably starred Broderick’s wife, Sarah Jessica Parker, as the pooch. So the history of the Gurney comedy in all in the family.
As previously reported, Annaleigh Ashford, a Tony winner for her performance in You Can't Take It With You, will star as Sylvia. Daniel Sullivan will direct the Broadway staging, which will also star Julie White and Robert Sella.
In other New York casting news, Michael Shannon has joined the cast of the new Broadway revival of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night, which will be produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company. It is scheduled to begin previews March 31, 2016, at the American Airlines Theatre.
Shannon will play the volatile alcoholic son James Tyrone Jr. He will play opposite Jessica Lange as mother Mary Tyrone, Gabriel Byrne as father James Tyrone, and John Gallagher Jr. as vulnerable younger son Edmund Tyrone. The show is directed by Jonathan Kent.