Media and Politics Spin in Stephen Belber's McReele, Opening Off-Broadway Feb. 24

News   Media and Politics Spin in Stephen Belber's McReele, Opening Off-Broadway Feb. 24
 
Anthony Mackie and Michael O'Keefe star as the title prisoner-turned-politician and the journalist at the center of it all in the world premiere of Stephen Belber's McReele opening Off-Broadway, Feb. 24.
Anthony Mackie in McReele
Anthony Mackie in McReele Photo by Joan Marcus

Doug Hughes (Doubt, Frozen) directs the Roundabout Theatre Company presentation which began performances Feb. 4 at the Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre for a run slated through May 1.

In a world where political figures' pasts are constantly being scrutinized by the media, McReele presents an outspoken African-American who has been exonerated for an 18-year-old murder charge that landed him on death row. When the intelligent and politically-minded man becomes a front-runner for a Maryland Senate seat, bolstered by his sympathetic past and magnetic persona, questions begin to arise about his role in the murder.

Mackie tackles the title role opposite recent Reckless star O'Keefe (Side Man, Fifth of July) as the reporter Rick Dayne, Jodi Long (Flower Drum Song, Nowhere to Go But Up) as Dayne's talk show host girlfriend, LAByrinth Theatre Company regular Portia (Our Lady of 121st Street, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan) as McReele's childhood love and Henry Strozier (Judgment at Nuremberg, Spinning Into Butter) in a number of other roles.

The design team for McReele — formerly titled For Reele — features Neil Patel (sets), Paul Tazewell (costumes) Michael Chybowski (lights) and David Van Tieghem (sound).

Mackie made his Broadway debut in the 2003 revival of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and returned to the stage last season in Drowning Crow. In the interim, the actor was busy with film projects including Jonathan Demme's remake of "The Manchurian Candidate, Spike Lee's "She Hate Me" and "Sucker Free City" (Showtime), "Brother to Brother," "Haven" and he can currently be seen in Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby." Other stage credits include the Moderator in Talk (Public Theater, 2002 Obie Award), understudy for Don Cheadle as Booth in Topdog/Underdog (Public) and Tupac in Up Against the Wind (New York Theatre Workshop). Belber is the playwright of Match — which gave two-time Tony Award winner Frank Langella his fourth nomination in 2004. The Tectonic Theatre Company member who helped pen The Laramie Project is also known for his Tape — which enjoyed an Off-Broadway run and film adaptation. Other plays include Finally, The Death of Frank, The Transparency Of Val, Through Fred, The Wake, Broken Fall, Steve, Wind and Stone Cold Lyricism. Two other plays in development include A Small, Melodramatic Story and Stabbing.

Following McReele, busy director Hughes stages the venue's next tenant, Jon Robin Baitz's The Paris Letter, set to start May 13. The director's Off-Broadway staging of John Patrick Shanley's Doubt is also set to transfer to Broadway's Walter Kerr, starting March 9.

Tickets to McReele at the Laura Pels, 111 West 46th Street (between Sixth and Seventh Ave.) are available by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212) 719-1300 or online at www.roundabouttheatre.org.

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