Daphne Rubin-Vega, known as Rent's original Mimi, stars alongside Paul Calderon, Gary Perez and Adriana Sevan in the New York City premiere of Cuban writer Nilo Cruz's Two Sisters and a Piano. Before even opening, Cruz's drama at The Public Theater in New York City was extended to March 12, due to "overwhelming ticket demand."
Directed by Loretta Greco, Two Sisters began previews Feb. 1 at The Public's Shiva Theater and opened there Feb. 15. It was originally skedded to run to March 5.
Cruz's portrait of the personal and political in 1991 Cuba had a previous Greco staging in southern California. As the Soviet Union begins to crumble, a romance writer, her sister and a pianist, prompted by world changes, speak out against Castro's regime and are arrested. The piece is inspired by a true story.
Cruz previously saw his Dancing on Her Knees staged at The Public, in 1997. Two Sisters and a Piano received the Kennedy Center Award for New American Plays and the Barrie Stavis Award from the National Theatre Conference.
Greco directed a previous staging of Two Sisters at South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, CA, in 1999. Calderon appeared in The Public's Dancing on Her Knees, Perez was in Cruz's A Park in Our House at New York Theatre Workshop, and Sevan played the same role (Maria Celia) in Two Sisters at South Coast Rep. Rubin-Vega was a Tony Award nominee for Rent and most recently appeared in New York in Gum for Women's Project and Productions.
Designers are Robert Brill (set), James Vermeulen (lighting), Alex Jaeger (costume) and Fabian Obispo (sound).
The Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival is located at 425 Lafayette St., in Manhattan.
Tickets are $45. For information on Two Sisters and a Piano call (212) 239-6200 for information.
Currently on the Public's Newman Stage is Anna Deavere Smith's solo, House Arrest, opening March 26 for a run through April 9. The New Works Now Festival will arrive on various Public stages in April, and Shakespeare in the Park will take to Central Park's Delacorte Theatre this summer.
-- By Kenneth Jones