Manhattan Theatre Club, which rescheduled its planned January 2002 staging of John Corwin's Gone Home to next season and replaced it with Christopher Shinn's Four, has now announced the cast of the latter play. Three of the four actors who appeared in the piece's summer 2001 premiere at the Worth Street Theatre Company return for this engagement. Previews begin Jan. 29 for an opening Feb. 19.
MTC's Stage II will house the production, under the direction of Jeff Cohen, artistic director of Worth Street Theatre. "Four focuses on the isolation and desires of four average individuals from a cross-section of American life: a successful father, a studious young daughter, a frustrated boy from a bad neighborhood and a shy and lonely teenager, at odds with his sexuality," according to the production's announcement Dec. 21. "The play takes place in Hartford, CT, on the Fourth of July in 1996, as the four characters pair off into two parallel relationships."
Playing the quartet will be Keith Nobbs, Armando Riesco, Isiah Whitlock, Jr. and Pascale Armand. All but Armand were in the original staging, which had Vinessa Antoine in the cast. Nobbs is probably the best-known cast member, having appeared in Fuddy Meers, Stupid Kids and the Broadway revival of The Lion in Winter. Whitlock's Broadway credits include the recent Iceman Cometh revival and A Lesson Before Dying.
The play was written when Shinn was 23. It received its world premiere at the Royal Court Theatre in 1998 and its American premiere at About Face Theatre, Chicago, in 2000. Casting has not been announced for the MTC staging, although it's expected that this will be the Worth Street performers. (MTC pulled another pre-existing Off-Broadway show into its 2001-2002 season: The current Where's My Money? started in summer 2001 at a tiny Manhattan space before being invited to fill a slot in MTC's season.)
John Corwin's Gone Home, to be directed by MTC artistic director Lynn Meadow, will play the 2002-2003 season. Her decision to postpone the Corwin play "was in response to the administrative responsibilities she is now taking on to assemble the artistic team for MTC's new Biltmore Theatre and its existing City Center theatres," according to the announcement. Playwright Shinn was born in Hartford in 1975. He lives in New York. Other plays include Other People (Royal Court, Playwrights Horizons), The Coming World (Soho Theatre, London) and What Didn't Happen. He has current from commissions South Coast Rep, Mark Taper Forum and Royal Court. His plays are published in the UK by Methuen.
Designers for Four are Lauren Helpern (set), Veronica Worts (costumes), Traci Klainer (lighting) and Paul Adams (sound).
Director Cohen selected credits include Isn't it Romantic?, Snapshots 2000, Small Craft Warnings, Snapshots '98 and the premiere of The Coyote Bleeds.
Tickets are $45. Stage II at City Center is at 131 West 55th Street. For information, call (212) 581-1212, or visit ManhattanTheatreClub.
— By Kenneth Jones
and David Lefkowitz