Is This Our Youth? LaBute Disturbs Anew With The Distance From Here, Opening May 6

News   Is This Our Youth? LaBute Disturbs Anew With The Distance From Here, Opening May 6 Anna Paquin, Josh Charles, Alison Pill and original London cast member Mark Webber lead the ensemble in MCC Theater's staging of Neil LaBute's disturbing drama, The Distance From Here,opening Off-Broadway May 6.
Anna Paquin in The Distance From Here
Anna Paquin in The Distance From Here Photo by Dixie Sheridan

Michael Greif (Rent, Never Gonna Dance) directs the American premiere The Duke. Previews began April 14 for a run through June 5.

In The Distance From Here, LaBute trains his focus on suburban America where a teen-aged slacker deals with his inattentive mother (and her lascivious boyfriend); his step-sister (and her ever-crying baby), who makes advances toward him; and his always-working best friend. When he uncovers a secret about his girlfriend's past, a confrontation leads to a shocking act which took London audiences by surprise and continues to do so in New York.

Amelia Alvarez (The Laramie Project), Ian Brennan (Juvenilia), Melissa Leo ("21 Grams") and Logan Marshall-Green (The Rainmaker) also star in the work.

Distance, which had its world premiere at London's Almeida, was scheduled for last season but was replaced by the more timely LaBute work The Mercy Seat as part of MCC's 2002-2003 season. MCC also recently presented LaBute's Autobahn — a one-night benefit of five one-acts by the scribe.

Paquin, who recently appeared in Off-Broadway's Roulette, also starred for MCC in the company's staging of Rebecca Gilman's The Glory of Living — which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. The actress, known for her turns in the "X-Men" films, "The 25th Hour" and her Academy Award-winning performance in "The Piano," also appeared on stage in Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth in London. Director Greif's other credits include Machinal, A Bright Room Called Day, Casanova, Marisol, Pericles, Dogeaters and Fuckin' A — all at the Public Theatre. The former La Jolla Playhouse artistic director also helmed Bright Lights Big City (NYTW), Monster (Classic Stage Company), A Few Stout Individuals (Signature Theatre), Betty Rules (Zipper Theatre) and Cavedweller (NYTW).

Playwright LaBute is known for his gritty dramas which include The Shape of Things, bash: latter-day plays and his film work including "In the Company of Men," "Your Friends and Neighbors" and "Nurse Betty."

The design team for Distance features Louisa Thompson (sets), Angela Wendt (costumes), James Vermuelen (lights) and Robert Kaplowitz (sound) — who also provides additional music. Rick Sordelet handles fight direction.

Performances of The Distance From Here will play at The Duke, 229 West 42nd Street. For more information on MCC, visit www.mcctheater.com.

Alison Pill (left) and Logan Marshall-Green in <i>The Distance From Here</i>
Alison Pill (left) and Logan Marshall-Green in The Distance From Here Photo by Dixie Sheridan