Richard Nelson's The General From America, starring Corin Redgrave as infamous Revolutionary War traitor Benedict Arnold, officially opens its New York City run under the umbrella of Theatre for a New Audience Nov. 21.
The production, directed by the author, continues through Dec. 22 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. Previews began Nov. 16.
General examines the economic, personal and emotional reasons that guided Gen. Arnold's decision to leave the Continental Army, of which he was a most esteemed leader, and defect to the British side. Nelson, in a much more historical frame of mind here than with his intimate coming-of-age plays (Madame Melville, Franny's Way), paints the nation's early leaders (such as Arnold and George Washington) as conflicted men with conflicted feelings about war. Arnold, in particular, is corrupt and not above profiting from his position in a time when colonists are dying. The play premiered in London in 1996, and examines the idea of morally corrupt soldier politicians profiting and losing in a world where loyalties change like the wind.
This production began life at Houston's Alley Theatre, where it played on the Large Stage Oct. 11-Nov. 9. Nelson won a Tony Award for the book to the musical James Joyce's The Dead.
Broadway veteran Nicholas Kepros (Amadeus, Timon of Athens, Saint Joan) is featured as Sir Henry Clinton with Kate Kearney-Patch (Boston and San Francisco's The Dead) as Hannah Arnold, Jon DeVries as George Washington and Jesse Pennington (Franny's Way) as Alexander Hamilton. Completing the cast are Sean Cullen (Broadway's The Dead) as Joseph Reed/Robinson, Alice Cannon as Mrs. Henry Clinton, Thomas M. Hammond as Stephen Kemble/Van Wart, Paul Anthony McGrane as John Andre, Thomas Sadoski as Timothy Matlock/Pauling and Yvonne Woods (Franny's Way) as Arnold's pregnant wife, Peggy. Redgrave is the brother of actresses Lynn and Vanessa. His work includes many productions with London's Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, playing George Washington in the world premiere of General From America, Gaev in The Cherry Orchard and Jean Paul Marat in Marat/Sade. He last appeared on Broadway as Boss Whalen in Not About Nightingales.
The General From America plays the Lortel, 121 Christopher Street, 7:30 PM Tuesdays-Saturdays, 2 PM Saturdays and 3 and 7 PM Sundays, with free symposia following the Dec. 7 and 14 matinees. Tickets are $55, or $10 anytime for students (inquire at box office only). For ticket information, call Tele-charge at (212) 239-6200.