Peter Strauss Replaces Luckinbill in New Baitz Play, Chinese Friends; Previews Now Begin May 7

News   Peter Strauss Replaces Luckinbill in New Baitz Play, Chinese Friends; Previews Now Begin May 7 Emmy Award-winning actor Peter Strauss ("The Jericho Mile," "Rich Man Poor Man") has joined the cast of Playwrights Horizons' world premiere staging of Chinese Friends, the new play by Jon Robin Baitz, the Off-Broadway theatre announced April 19.

Robert Egan directs on the PH Mainstage. First preview is May 7, toward an opening of May 27.

Strauss takes over the role of Arthur Brice, which was originally to be played by Laurence Luckinbill. Luckinbill has left the production for personal reasons.

Peter Strauss won an Emmy for his performance in "The Jericho Mile" and was also nominated for his performances in "Rich Man Poor Man" and "Masada."

He made his Broadway debut in Einstein and the Polar Bear, and he's appeared at The Mark Taper Forum in The Mind with the Dirty Man, The Trial of the Catonsville Nine and The Dance Next Door, and at Center Stage in A Cry of Players. Strauss created the role of Arthur Brice in the workshop of Chinese Friends at The Ojai Playwrights Conference in 2003.

Due to the cast change, Chinese Friends will now begin previews one week later, 8 PM May 7. A new opening night is set for 7:30 PM May 27. The limited engagement plays to June 13 at PH, 416 West 42nd Street.

Strauss joins cast members Tyler Francavilla, Will McCormack and Bess Wohl, already in rehearsal.

The title of Jon Robin Baitz's new political thriller, Chinese Friends, refers to the board game of the same name, also known as Reversi or Othello, derived from the ancient Chinese game, Go. "In this vein, the play features a game of cagey one-upsmanship that ensues when a young man (Francavilla) and two friends (McCormack and Wohl) track down his long-estranged father (Strauss), a politico in exile, to demand the truth about their past. Deep-seated personal and political secrets become tactical set-pieces, complicating conflicting desires for revenge and rehabilitation. Chinese Friends is an unsettling parable about strife and sacrifice between fathers and sons at opposite ends of the political spectrum in an America 30 years hence."

Designers are Santo Loquasto (sets), Laura Bauer (costumes), Donald Holder (lighting) and Obadiah Eaves (sound and original music).

Tickets are $55. For tickets and information, call (212) 279-4200 or visit www.playwrightshorizons.org.