The episodic play began its commercial Off-Broadway run Feb. 18 — following a transfer from the LAByrinth Theater Company production at Center Stage/NY — and officially opened March 6. The work will have played 18 previews and 134 regular performances by the end of its run.
Set in the Ortiz Funeral home, Our Lady of 121st Street follows the reunions — some good, some bad — of a group of old friends who return to their old neighborhood after the death of a nun.
The Off-Broadway run features the acclaimed original LAByrinth cast including Elizabeth Canavan, Liza Colon-Zayas, Melissa Feldman, Mark Hammer, Ron Cephas Jones, Russell G. Jones, John Ortiz, Richard Petrocelli, Portia [sic], Al Roffe, Felix Solis and David Zayas.
The design team for Our Lady include Narelle Sissons (scenic), Mimi O'Donnell (costume), James Vermeulen (lighting) and Eric DeArmon (sound). Longtime LAByrinth patriot Guirgis also penned the critically-praised Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train also helmed by Hoffman. The play won the Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival, moved to London's Donmar Warehouse and transferred to London's West End. Jesus was included in the Smith and Krauss anthology Best Plays of 2001. Guirgis' previous play, In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings, was also produced by LAByrinth and directed by Hoffman.
Hoffman is best known as a stage and film actor ("Boogie Nights" and True West among his popular portrayals). He was nominated for his current turn on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning revival of Long Day's Journey Into Night. Hoffman serves as co-artistic director of LAByrinth Theater Company with actor John Ortiz.
THE LAByrinth Theater Company began in 1992 when 13 actors joined forces to form a place to work. The goal was to create a home where the group, for three hours each week, could engage in a variety of theatrical exercises designed to "push each others' limits and bind together into a tight-knit, uninhibited and impassioned ensemble - one in which each member is given the opportunity and support, not just to act, but to write, direct, produce, sweep, paint, hang lights, etc."
The company, now consisting of 64 members from a wide array of cultural perspectives (including Puerto Rican, Japanese, Israeli, Dominican, Egyptian, Italian, Jewish, Irish, Korean, African-American, and more) has produced over 20 mainstage productions. Two LAByrinth productions will be featured at the Public Theatre in the coming season.
Tickets for Our Lady of 121st Street, at the Union Square, 100 East 17th Street, are available by calling (212) 307-4100.