Jon Robin Baitz and Ron Rifkin Send a Paris Letter to Off-Broadway May 13

News   Jon Robin Baitz and Ron Rifkin Send a Paris Letter to Off-Broadway May 13 Ron Rifkin, an old hand at the work of Jon Robin Baitz, will star in the New York premiere of the playwright's new play, The Paris Letter, which begins previews at the Laura Pels Theatre on May 13.
Jon Robin Baitz
Jon Robin Baitz Photo by Aubrey Reuben

He will star opposite Michele Pawk (Hollywood Arms), John Glover (Love! Valour! Compassion!), Jason Butler Harner (Orange Flower Water) and Daniel Eric Gold (The Singing Forest) in the new drama from the playwright of The Substance of Fire and Chinese Friends.

Harner replaced the previously announced Lee Pace (Small Tragedy) who left the show for a film project. Harner also appeared in the New York Theatre Workshop production of Hedda Gabler, Observe the Sons of Ulster... and Roundabout's Juno and the Paycock.

Harner has only had three days off since his last gig ended—the Edge Theatre Company production of Craig Wright's Orange Flower Water, which concluded its run on May 9.

Doug Hughes (Doubt, Frozen) directs Paris Letter, which is about a Wall Street hotshot (Rifkin) who struggles to escape a past that catches up with him and threatens both his personal and professional lives.

Rifkin — a star of Baitz works such as The Substance of Fire and Three Hotels — headed up the Los Angeles cast of the work which also featured Neil Patrick Harris (Assassins), Lawrence Pressman (Never Live Over a Pretzel Factory), Josh Radnor (The Graduate) and Patricia Wettig ("thirtysomething"). The Tony Award winner for Cabaret is also known for his television role on "Alias." Pawk earned a Tony Award for her turn in Hollywood Arms. She has also appeared on Broadway in Chicago, Seussical, Cabaret, Triumph of Love, Crazy for You, Off Broadway in Reefer Madness, Merrily We Roll Along, john & jen and in the staging of A Little Night Music at the New York City and Los Angeles Opera. Other credits include Bounce and the films "Cradle Will Rock" and "Jeffrey."

Boston's Huntington Theatre Company commissioned the new work, which was seen in a New York City reading (starring Rifkin with Kate Nelligan and Richard Easton) in December 2003. The drama was also developed at California's Ojai Playwrights Conference.

Originally thought to be Broadway-bound under the auspices of Elizabeth McCann, Scott Rudin and Hal Luftig, the work made its world premiere in Culver City, California at the new Kirk Douglas Theater Dec. 5, 2004-Jan. 2, 2005.

The design team for The Paris Letter includes John Lee Beatty (sets), Catherine Zuber (costumes), Peter Kaczorowski (lights) and David Van Tieghem (sound) — who also provides original compositions.

Baitz also penned the adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler used in the 2001 Broadway revival. His Ten Unknowns was produced by Lincoln Center Theatre, which also presented the scribe's A Fair Country and The Substance of Fire. Other works include Mizlansky/Zilinsky or 'Schmucks,' Three Hotels and The Film Society.

Tickets are available to The Paris Letter at the Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, located at 111 West 46th Street by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212) 719-1300. For more information, go online to www.roundabouttheatre.org.

From Left: Ron Rifkin and Neil Patrick Harris in <i>The Paris Letter</i> at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles
From Left: Ron Rifkin and Neil Patrick Harris in The Paris Letter at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles Photo by Craig Schwartz
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