This Is Our Youth, the acclaimed Kenneth Lonergan play which has gone through countless delays, two incarnations and three theaters, will end its Off-Broadway run at the Douglas Fairbanks Theater on May 2. It will have played 110 performances at that venue.
Lonergan's tale of three dysfunctional youths first received a brief but acclaimed New Group staging in October 1996, directed by Mark Brokaw and starring Josh Hamilton, Mark Ruffalo and Missy Yager. Talk of a transfer to an extended Off-Broadway run immediately followed, but the project lost steam when a suitable theatre could not be found.
The play finally reopened at Second Stage in November 1998, again directed by Mark Brokaw, though Mark Rosenthal replaced the unavailable Hamilton. The drama was praised once more and again appeared poised for a commercial transfer, under the aegis of Barry and Fran Weissler and Eric Krebs.
This is Our Youth was to have transferred from Second Stage to the Minetta Lane Theatre, but negotiations fell through in December, and the show was instead extended at Second Stage. The production was expected to move to the Minetta Lane right after Israel Horovitz's Primary English Class had closed, and the cast had even renegotiated their contracts for a commercial run. But producer Barry Weissler told the NY Times (Dec. 18, 1998) the production would not move to the Minetta saying, "It's alive and kicking...It will find its eventual home, but I can't move without my director." The show's director, Mark Brokaw, was then busy at the helm of Steppenwolf's Glass Menagerie in Chicago.
Eventually, Youth reappeared at the Fairbanks, opening Jan 26, 1999. Ruffalo recently won a Lucille Lortel Award and a Drama League Award for his work in the show. For tickets and information on This Is Our Youth at the Second Stage call (212) 787-3392.
--By Robert Simonson