Stephen Lang, the most recent male lead in The Flea Theatre production of Anne Nelson's The Guys, will perform opposite the previously-announced Sigourney Weaver in the free Lincoln Center Theatre presentation of the 9/11-themed work at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre on Sept. 11.
Prior to the performance in New York, the film version of the play will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival at 6:30 PM on Sept. 11 in observance of the anniversary of the events of last year. Weaver — who is reprising the role she originated — appears in the film with former cast member Anthony LaPaglia. Both the stageshow and film version are directed by Bat artistic director (and Weaver's husband) Jim Simpson.
The Guys, based on Nelson's real experiences, is a dialogue between a fire captain — who has lost most of his men in the Sept. 11 attack — and an editor who helps him write the eulogies as she struggles herself to come to terms with the event. Both find out, as quoted from the text, "We have no idea what wonders lie hidden in the people around us."
New York City's Bat Theatre Company was a little-known Off-Off Broadway troupe headed up by artistic director Simpson. But in December 2001, when the theatre was still struggling in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, the company — just blocks from Ground Zero — workshopped The Guys penned by first-time playwright Anne Nelson. The play — which became a full production — revitalized the little company with its big name casts.
The New York cast of The Guys has included Bill Murray, Weaver, Bill Irwin, LaPaglia, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Swoosie Kurtz, Tom Wopat, Amy Irving, Carol Kane, Marlo Thomas and Lang. The Los Angeles production at The Actors' Gang has featured artistic director Tim Robbins, Helen Hunt, Sarandon, Philip Baker Hall and Jeanne Tripplehorn. Tickets to the Sept. 11 performance at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, 150 West 65 Street, will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis with a limit of two tickets per person, beginning at noon Sept. 11 at the box office.
— by Ernio Hernandez