MCC Theatre Sets Dates and New Venues for 2003-04 Season; LaBute's Distance Plays Spring 2004

News   MCC Theatre Sets Dates and New Venues for 2003-04 Season; LaBute's Distance Plays Spring 2004 Following a star-studded 2002-2003 season — with Liev Schreiber, Sigourney Weaver, Brian Murray, Julianna Margulies and Benjamin Bratt — at the Theatre Row complex, Off-Broadway's MCC Theatre has announced dates and new venues for its upcoming season.

The Manhattan Class Company — better known by their abbreviated moniker MCC — lost the lease on its theatre space on West 28th Street in 2002, so the company slated its last season at the Theater Row complex. The now 17-year-old troupe will present its next season at the East 13th Street Theatre (home of Classic Stage Company) and The Duke on 42nd Street.

The new three-play season will begin with Eric Coble's Bright Ideas, Oct. 22 at East 13th Street Theatre. The dark comedy, set to open Nov. 5, centers on parents of a boy who is next on the waiting list for one of the best pre-schools, Bright Ideas Early Childhood Development Academy. John Rando (Polish Joke) will direct. The work premiered at Ohio's Cleveland Play House — where Coble is a founding member.

Bryony Lavery's Frozen will follow at the East 13th, beginning Feb. 25, 2004. Doug Hughes — who directed last season's MCC staging of Scattergood — will direct the American premiere of the work which premiered at London's Royal National Theater. The drama, set to open March 11, 2004, connects the lives of three strangers involved in a child's disappearance.

The American premiere of Neil LaBute's The Distance From Here — which was postponed from last season to make room for the more timely LaBute work The Mercy Seat — will begin at The Duke on 42nd Street, April 14, 2004. The drama centers on a teen-aged slacker and his struggle with the discord in his family life: a mother who doesn't remember his childhood, a stepsister who wants to become involved sexually with him, and the boyfriend of his mother who is sleeping with his stepsister. The tangled story of betrayal and angst, which premiered at the Almeida Theatre in London, will open April 29, 2004.

No casting or directors have been announced with the exception of Hughes and Rando. With casting guru Bernard Telsey serving as co-artistic director — with Robert LuPone — audiences can expect a lineup as starry as last season: Liev Schreiber and Sigourney Weaver starred in The Mercy Seat under the direction of playwright LaBute; three-time Tony nominee Brian Murray headlined in Anto Howard's Scattergood; and Jim Simpson directed Julianna Margulies and Benjamin Bratt in Kate Robin's Intrigue With Faye. For more information on MCC, visit www.mcctheater.com.