Kristine Nielsen Cast in MTC World Premiere, Based on a Totally True Story

News   Kristine Nielsen Cast in MTC World Premiere, Based on a Totally True Story Carson Elrod, Erik Heger, Kristine Nielsen and Michael Tucker will star in the world premiere production of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's Based on a Totally True Story at Manhattan Theatre Club's Stage II Off-Broadway.
Kristine Nielsen
Kristine Nielsen Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Directed by Michael Bush, the production begins previews on March 23 and opens on April 11 at City Center on West 55th Street.

Aguirre-Sacasa, a rising and prolific playwright and comic book writer (he pens titles for Marvel Comics), has written a play about — guess what? — a playwright and comic book writer.

"Ethan Keene (Elrod) is a young playwright and comic book writer who's on the verge of breaking through," according to MTC. "When a veteran Hollywood producer (Nielsen) decides she wants to turn one of his plays into a horror movie, the frenzy that follows forces him to deal with the real drama in his life — his relationships with his boyfriend and his father (Tucker)."

Casting for one additonal role will be announced at a later date.

Based on a Totally True Story was originally presented as part of MTC's 6@6 reading series, which presents new works in development. Previous plays that have been developed in the 6@6 series and then produced on MTC's stages include the Pulitzer Prize-winning Proof by David Auburn, Fuddy Meers by David Lindsay-Abaire and Between Us by Joe Hortua. Elrod appeared in MTC's Broadway production of Reckless, MTC's Off-Broadway productions of House & Garden and Comic Potential; Heger recently appeared in the La Jolla Playhouse production of The Scottish Play; Nielsen is the lauded comic actress known for Off-Broadway's Miss Witherspoon, MTC's Wonder of the World, Omnium Gatherum and Betty's Summer Vacation (for which she won the Obie Award); Tucker is widely known for playing Stuart Markowitz on "L.A. Law."

In addition to writing for the theatre, Aguirre-Sacasa writes the monthly adventures of The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man for Marvel Comics. His play, Golden Age, was produced by New York's Tobacco Bar Theatre Company in conjunction with the Horse Trade Theatre Group at the Kraine Theatre. Other works include The Mystery Plays (Connecticut Critics' Award for Outstanding Play; Roger L. Stevens Award), the folkloric thriller The Muckle Man (Helen Hayes nomination for Best New Play), the occult romantic comedy Say You Love Satan (New York International Fringe Festival Excellence in Playwriting Award; GLAAD Media Award nomination).

Formerly the playwright-in-residence at Second Stage Theatre in New York, he is working on a commission for that theatre (a mystery set in Nicaragua)—as well as on a commission for Manhattan Theatre Club: Good Boys and True, about a scandal that rocks a prep school. For the California Shakespeare Festival in Berkeley and ACT in San Francisco, he is developing a new version of A Midsummer Night's Dream entitled Sweet Thunder, which is set among San Francisco's homeless youth population.

This spring, The Velvet Sky, a dark bedtime story for grown-ups will premiere at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, D.C. He is a 2003 graduate of the Yale School of Drama.

Director Michael Bush is currently the director of artistic production for the Manhattan Theatre Club. He has been associated with MTC for almost 25 years and served as its associate artistic director from 1990-2002. In 2002, he left MTC to serve as the producing artistic director of Charlotte Repertory Theatre for two seasons and produced nine shows, including The Miracle Worker starring Hillary Swank and The Glass Menagerie starring Penny Fuller. He then returned to MTC in 2004.

Tickets are $48 and can be reserved by calling CityTix at (212) 581-1212. For more information visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.< P>