The Personal and the Political Collide in Baitz's New Play, Chinese Friends, Off-Bway May 7-June 13

News   The Personal and the Political Collide in Baitz's New Play, Chinese Friends, Off-Bway May 7-June 13 Emmy Award-winning actor Peter Strauss is in the company of Chinese Friends, the Playwrights Horizons world premiere staging of Jon Robin Baitz's latest play, a political thriller, starting May 7.
Jon Robin Baitz
Jon Robin Baitz Photo by Sara Barrett

Robert Egan directs on the PH Mainstage toward an opening of May 27. The limited engagement plays to June 13 at PH, 416 West 42nd Street. (A pay-what-you-can performance is being offered 2:30 PM May 9.)

Strauss, who won an Emmy for his performance in "The Jericho Mile" and was also nominated for his performances in "Rich Man Poor Man" and "Masada," plays Arthur Brice, a role he tested in an earlier workshop at The Ojai Playwrights Conference.

Strauss joins cast members Tyler Francavilla, Will McCormack and Bess Wohl.

The title of the play, Chinese Friends, refers to the board game of the same name, also known as Reversi or Othello, derived from the ancient Chinese game, Go. "In this vein, the play features a game of cagey one upsmanship that ensues when a young man (Francavilla) and two friends (McCormack and Wohl) track down his long-estranged father (Strauss), a politico in exile, to demand the truth about their past," according to production notes. "Deep-seated personal and political secrets become tactical set-pieces, complicating conflicting desires for revenge and rehabilitation. Chinese Friends is an unsettling parable about strife and sacrifice between fathers and sons at opposite ends of the political spectrum in an America 30 years hence."

Strauss made his Broadway debut in Einstein and the Polar Bear, and he's appeared at The Mark Taper Forum in The Mind with the Dirty Man, The Trial of the Catonsville Nine and The Dance Next Door, and at Center Stage in A Cry of Players. Baitz's plays include Ten Unknowns, A Fair Country, Three Hotels and The Substance of Fire.

Designers for Chinese Friends are Santo Loquasto (sets), Laura Bauer (costumes), Donald Holder (lighting) and Obadiah Eaves (sound and original music).

Tickets are $55. For tickets and information, call (212) 279-4200 or visit www.playwrightshorizons.org.

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