Starry Night: Vincent in Brixton Opens on Broadway March 6

News   Starry Night: Vincent in Brixton Opens on Broadway March 6
Vincent in Brixton, the Nicholas Wright play which a few weeks ago won the 2003 Olivier Award for Best New Play, will open at the Golden Theater on Broadway March 6.
Clare Higgins in Vincent in Brixton.
Clare Higgins in Vincent in Brixton. Photo by Joan Marcus

Jochum ten Haaf and Clare Higgins, who starred in the London premiere, will repeat their celebrated performances in this presentation by Lincoln Center Theater. Broadway previews began Feb. 13.

Sir Richard Eyre, who received a 2002 Tony Award nomination for Best Director for his work on the revival of The Crucible, directs a cast that also includes Sarah Drew, Liesel Matthews and Pete Starrett. The creative team comprises Tim Hatley (sets and costumes), Peter Mumford (lighting) and Dominic Muldowney (music).

Vincent in Brixton, which is based on the early life of painter Vincent van Gogh, is set in 1873 London when the young van Gogh — played by Jochum ten Haaf — rents a room in the house of a widow — portrayed by Clare Higgins — in Brixton, a South London district. Higgins won the 2002 London Evening Standard Award for her performance in Vincent, and ten Haaf received a nomination for Most Promising Newcomer.

In an interview for the National Theatre's website, playwright Wright spoke about the play, which highlights van Gogh's relationship with the older woman. The playwright commented on van Gogh's artistic awakening coinciding with his sexual awakening: "That's just something I believe — that sexual awakening is essential to artistic awakening. I think the two almost go together. When a young person falls in love and particularly falls sexually in love, that's the moment when the whole human race seems to be transformed and you look at things in a different way. I think it's very hard to have the true artist's visionary experience of the world without having gone through that sexual, loving experience."

The production features actual cooking on stage. According to the New York Post, the cast prepares fish cakes, roast lamb, brussels sprouts, potatoes and parsley sauce on a stove. The play takes place in a kitchen. Nicholas Wright has written such plays as Mrs. Klein, Treetops, One Fine Day, The Gorky Brigade and Cressida. He has also adapted Six Characters in Search of an Author, John Gabriel Borkman, Naked and Lulu, and his screenplays include adaptations of works by Patrick Hamilton, Doris Lessing, Armistead Maupin and Ford Madox Ford. Wright also co-wrote a book about the British Theatre — "Changing Stages" — with director Eyre.

Vincent in Brixton will play Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8 PM, with matinees Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 PM and Sundays at 3 PM. Tickets are priced at $55 and $70. For information, call (212) 239-6200.

Clare Higgins and Jochum ten Haaf in the London production of <i>Vincent in Brixton</i>.
Clare Higgins and Jochum ten Haaf in the London production of Vincent in Brixton. Photo by Ivan Kyncl
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