Feiffer's first new play in more than a decade officially opened June 9 to mixed, but largely respectful reviews. Larry Bryggman, Mark Feuerstein, Jonathan Hadary, David Harbour, Jan Maxwell and Kala Savage make up the cast. Jerry Zaks directs.
A Bad Friend is set in the '50s in Brooklyn, where a family with Communist Party connections during the McCarthy era of naming names and blacklists gets into hot water, much to the consternation of Rose, the clan's teenage daughter.
In a recent interview in The New York Times, Feiffer discussed the time period his play examines: "Nobody turned out to be quite what they said they were. In this difficult time, the people who you put your faith in turned out to be something other than who they claimed to be."
Feiffer, a renowned cartoonist and sometime playwright, has been absent from the stage for more than a decade. His last new play to open in New York was Elliot Loves, which starred Christine Baranski, Anthony Heald, Oliver Platt and David Hyde-Pierce.
Feiffer burst onto the theatre scene in 1967 with Little Murders, a satiric comedy in which casual killings are committed every hour on the streets of a nonplussed, callous New York. The show ran only seven full performances, but was noticed enough to garner an Obie Award and be made into a movie. Elliot Gould led the cast of both the play and film. Feiffer's work is typically filled with lacerating humor and breathtakingly bitter arguments. In Grown Ups, a man and wife tear into each other when the man isn't busy battling the expectations of his parents. In Elliot Loves, the titular protagonist systematically sabotages his relationships with the woman he loves and all of his closet friends.
At the turn of the new millennium, Feiffer decided to give up cartooning.