Before he became a Hollywood golden boy, before his Lobby Hero became a sure thing for a commercial remount next season, Kenneth Lonergan started off his theatre career with This Is Our Youth, a quirky comedy about three disaffected trust-fund kids. With Lonergan one of the hottest writers on both coasts, Philadelphia Theatre Company is trumpeting its mounting of Youth, a Philly premiere, happening April 13-May 13 and officially opening April 18.
The play's extended run at Off-Broadway's Second Stage Theatre in 1998 nearly led to a commercial mounting at the Minetta Lane Theatre (the play eventually had a commercial Off-Broadway staging, though it took over a year to achieve that goal). If that seemed like a setback, life has only gotten better for Lonergan. His drama, The Waverly Gallery, received acclaim in its 2000 Off-Broadway production and was just declared as a finalist for this year's Pulitzer Prize. His latest play, Lobby Hero, proved a recent SRO hit at Playwrights Horizons and will almost certainly resurface in NYC in 2001-02. To top it all off, his screenplay for "You Can Count On Me" nearly took home the Oscar a few weeks ago.
First written in 1996 (and staged by Mark Brokaw for The New Group) This Is Our Youth will be directed at Philadelphia Theatre Company by Mary B. Robinson, who runs the undergraduate directing program at NYU/Playwrights Horizons. David Barlow, Maggie Lacey and Tommy Schrider star. Designing the show are Jim van Bergen (sound), Michael Brown (set), Pat Dignan (lighting) and Mattie Ulrich (costumes).
For tickets ($26-$36) and information on This Is Our Youth at Philadelphia Theatre Company in the Plays & Players Theatre: 1714 Delancey Street, call (215) 735-0631.
— By David Lefkowitz