Second Stage will take a second look at Beth Henley's Pulitzer-winning Crimes of the Heart when its new revival officially opens April 16. Preview began April 3. The Garry Hynes-directed revival will run through May 13.
The play stars Amy Ryan (Meg) [Read PBOL feature on Ryan below], Enid Graham (Lenny) and Mary Catherine Garrison (Babe) as sisters, with Julia Murney as Chick Boyle, their cousin. Garry Hynes is the Tony-winning director of The Beauty Queen of Leenane.
Missy Yager, who had been announced to play sister Babe, was recently replaced by Garrison. A production spokesman cited "artistic differences." Garrison made her Broadway debut last year in The Man Who Came to Dinner at the Roundabout Theatre Company.
Graham's credits included Look Back in Anger at CSC and Turn of the Screw at Primary Stages. In the past year, Murney has performed in three high-profile Off Broadway musicals at Manhattan Theatre Club: The Wild Party, A Class Act and Time and Again. Ryan recently finished a run in the brutal Saved at Theatre for a New Audience.
Ryan told Playbill On-Line she was drawn to the project because of the opportunity to work with Hynes. "A lot of people are surprised that Garry is directing this, " said Ryan. "She's Irish, but, yeah, she's also great. You mean she shouldn't direct a Greek play if she wanted to? She approached it for the truth of it. Babe isn't just some cute, crazy girl; she's a 24-year old woman who attempted to kill her husband. Garry has said that smalltown Hazelhurst isn't much different from smalltown Ireland, in the characters you meet, and the sense of whether the community is behind you or not." Henley's 1981 play about kooky Southern sisters has remained a staple of regional and community playhouses. More recent plays have included the short-lived Family Week last season, and Impossible Marriage, starring Holly Hunter and Lois Smith, at the Roundabout Theater Company. Other Henley works include The Wake of Jamey Foster (on Broadway in 1982) and The Miss Firecracker Contest.
According to Ryan, Henley has been available at rehearsals. "We had Beth — who I worked with on a workshop production of Family Week at New York Stage and Film — for the first week of rehearsals," she said, "and she's with us through previews. Beth kind of shocked me; everyone knows this play, but at the second rehearsal, we were trimming and cutting it. It was great seeing that after 20 years, and the play winning the Pulitzer Prize, and her writing the film version, that she's still working on it."
—By Robert Simonson