Michael Shannon Is New "Stage Manager" of NYC's Our Town Starting Feb. 23

News   Michael Shannon Is New "Stage Manager" of NYC's Our Town Starting Feb. 23 Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon, of "Revolutionary Road," takes over the role of the Stage Manager in the acclaimed Off-Broadway production of Our Town on Feb. 23.
Michael Shannon
Michael Shannon

Stephen Kunken (Rock 'n' Roll, Proof, Festen) exited the narrator role in the David Cromer-directed staging Feb. 19 in preparation for his spring work in Broadway's Enron. Jay Russell played the character in the interim.

Thornton Wilder's Our Town plays the Barrow Street Theatre in Greenwich Village. Cromer and his producers gutted the venue and put the audience in a three-quarter configuration, with rows of theatregoers also added in the middle of the playing area.

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Our Town began performances on Feb. 17, 2009, with an official opening night on Feb. 26, 2009, when it received rave reviews. Our Town went on to win the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Production and Outstanding Direction and Obie Award for Outstanding Director.

This Our Town became the longest-running production of the play in its 72-year history with its record-breaking 337th performance on Dec. 16, 2009. The ticket booking period has now been extended to June 27. Shannon was acclaimed for his work in the incendiary Off-Broadway production of Tracy Letts' Bug (at the Barrow Street). He grew up in Lexington, KY, and began his professional stage career in Chicago. His first acting role was in Winterset at the Illinois Theatre Center. He continued working on the stage with Steppenwolf, The Next Lab and A Red Orchid Theatre. He originated the role of Harry Brown in Letts' Man From Nebraska at Steppenwolf. He was Oscar-nominated as Best Supporting Actor for playing a mentally unstable character in "Revolutionary Road."

The complete cast of Our Town includes (in alphabetical order) Robert Beitzel as Howie Newsome, Susan Bennett as Mrs. Soames, Kati Brazda as Mrs. Webb, Will Brill as Joe Crowell, Nathan Dame as Sam Craig, Mark Hatton as Constable Warren, Jennifer Grace as Emily, Wilbur Edwin Henry as Professor Willard, Jake Horowitz as Wally Webb, Ronete Levenson as Rebecca Gibbs, Ben Livingston as Doc Gibbs, David Manis as Editor Webb, Daniel Marcus as Simon Stimson, James McMenamin as George, Lori Myers as Mrs. Gibbs, Jay Russell as Joe Stoddard, and Jason Yachanin as Si Crowell with Elizabeth Audley, Dana Jacks, Kathleen Peirce, Keith Perry, and Mark Shock.

Our Town won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1938 and is one of the best-known American plays of the 20th century. It charts the range of human experience in a tale of two families in small-town Grover's Corners, NH, "just across the Massachusetts line," between 1901-13.

The businesslike Stage Manager character introduces and guides us through the meta-theatrical three-act tale, spanning 13 years of town history. Daily life, love and marriage, and death are its three rueful chapters.

The physical production, as indicated in the script by Wilder, has always been bare-bones and highly presentational. Cromer takes that to another level: performers wear (mostly) street clothes and the house lights are on for most of the show.

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Our Town is produced by Scott Morfee, Jean Doumanian, Tom Wirtshafter, Ted Snowdon, Eagle Productions, Dena Hammerstein/Pam Pariseau, The Weinstein Company, and Burnt Umber Productions.

The performance schedule is Tuesday-Friday at 7:30 PM, Saturday at 2:30 PM & 7:30 PM, Sunday at 2:30 PM & 7:30 PM. Tickets are priced at $69 & $49.50 and are available through SmartTix (212) 868-4444, www.smarttix.com, or at the Barrow Street Theatre box office (open at 1 PM daily) at 27 Barrow Street at Seventh Avenue South.

Student tickets at $20 are available on the day of performance only at the box office.

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