John Rubinstein directs the new work by Geoffrey Cowan and Leroy Aarons. New York Theatre Workshop co-produces the work with L.A. Theatre Works and Affinity Collaborative Theater. The play officially opens at NYTW's downtown March 9 for a run slated through March 29.
"It's 1971 and the nation is at war," according to press notes. "The intractable conflict escalates in Vietnam while here at home the battle for public opinion rages. A federal court blocks The New York Times from publishing the top-secret history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham has a single day to decide whether to print these documents, which quickly became known as the Pentagon Papers. When the Nixon administration closes in and charges treason, the fight for a free press explodes."
Cowan and Aarons' work — based on interviews and documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act — features a cast of 11 representing the real-life characters at the center of this historic event. (For more information on the work, visit topsecretplay.org.)
The Off-Broadway cast includes Diane Adair (as Meg Greenfield), Larry Bryggman (John Mitchell/Chal Roberts/Lamont Vanderhall), John Getz (Ben Bagdikian/Robert Mardian), Jack Gilpin (Brian Kelly), James Gleason (Murry Marder/Judge Martin Peel), Roberta Maxwell (Katharine Graham), Matt McGrath (George Wilson/Eugene Patterson), Larry Pine (Richard Nixon/Dennis Doolin), Russell Soder (Soldier/Darryl Cox/Clerk & Bailiff/Ron Ziegler), Peter Strauss (Ben Bradlee) and Peter Van Norden (Fritz Beebe/Henry Kissinger).
Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers was first developed and produced by L.A.T.W. The design team includes David Lander (set and lighting) and Holly Poe Durbin (costume). The production stage manager is Jennifer Grutza.
Tickets to Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers at NYTW, located at 79 East Fourth Street, are available by calling (212) 460-5475. For more information visit nytw.org.