Norris' Clybourne Park, a Riff on Raisin in the Sun, Opens in NYC

News   Norris' Clybourne Park, a Riff on Raisin in the Sun, Opens in NYC Clybourne Park, Bruce Norris' play that looks at the racial and class makeup of a surburban neighborhood in 1959 (in Act One) and 2009 (in Act Two), opens Feb. 21 in its world premiere by Playwrights Horizons.
Crystal A. Dickinson, Annie Parisse and Jeremy Shamos in the Off-Broadway production of Clybourne Park.
Crystal A. Dickinson, Annie Parisse and Jeremy Shamos in the Off-Broadway production of Clybourne Park. Photo by Joan Marcus

Tony Award winner Frank Wood, Emmy nominee Annie Parisse, Jeremy Shamos, Crystal A. Dickinson, Brendan Griffin, Damon Gupton and Christina Kirk are featured in the dark comedy inspired by Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin the Sun, the American classic about a black family that moves out of the ghetto and into a white neighborhood. Norris has taken a minor character, Karl Linder, from the earlier play and connects the audience to the white folks who are about to be impacted by the arrival of a black family.

Act One reads like a 1950s-style well-made play, while Act Two becomes more fractured and anxious, showing what happened to Clybourne Park since 1959 — and where it's heading.

Previews began Jan. 29 on PH's Mainstage Theater on West 42nd Street. The limited engagement is scheduled to run through March 7.

Clybourne Park is Norris' first play to have its world premiere in New York City. PH presented his first New York premiere with The Pain and the Itch in 2006, but five of his plays had their world premieres at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago.

* Pam MacKinnon (Peter and Jerry, The Four of Us, Occupant) directs the play, which is billed this way: "In 1959, a white family moves out. In 2009, a white family moves in. In the intervening years, change overtakes a neighborhood, along with attitudes, inhabitants and property values. Loosely inspired by Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, this pitch-black comedy from Bruce Norris takes on the specter of gentrification in one of America's most recognizable communities — leaving no stone unturned in the process."

The production features scenic design by Dan Ostling, costume design by Ilona Somogyi, lighting design by Allen Lee Hughes and sound design by John Gromada. Production stage manager is Carol A. Clark.

Wood won his Tony Best Actor in Side Man and recently appeared in August: Osage County; Parisse ("Law & Order") was Becky Shaw Off-Broadway at Second Stage; Shamos appeared in PH's 100 Saints You Should Know and Miss Witherspoon, plus Gutenberg! The Musical Off-Broadway; Dickinson's credits include Ruined and Broke-ology; Griffin was featured in the world premiere of Itamar Moses' Back Back Back at The Old Globe; Gupton was in Inked Baby at PH; Kirk has worked at the Vineyard in God's Ear at and Soho Rep in Suitcase and [sic].

Norris is an actor and writer whose plays include The Infidel (2000), Purple Heart (2002), We All Went Down to Amsterdam (2003), The Pain and the Itch (2004) and The Unmentionables (2006) all of which had their premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre. His newest play, titled A Parallelogram, will premiere there in 2010.

Tickets are $65. Tickets can be purchased online via TicketCentral.com, by phone at (212) 279-4200 or in person at the Ticket Central Box Office, 416 West 42nd Street (between Ninth & Tenth Avenues).

For more information, visit www.playwrightshorizons.org.

Christina Kirk, Jeremy Shamos, Annie Parisse, Brendan Griffin, Damon Gupton and Crystal A. Dickinson
Christina Kirk, Jeremy Shamos, Annie Parisse, Brendan Griffin, Damon Gupton and Crystal A. Dickinson
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