Waite and Keith Enter Lucas and Schulner's Darkness at Atlantic, May 8

News   Waite and Keith Enter Lucas and Schulner's Darkness at Atlantic, May 8 Daniel Eric Gold, Larry Keith, Mary McCann, Chris Messina, Thomas Jay Ryan and Ralph Waite make up the cast of This Thing of Darkness, the new drama co-written by Craig Lucas and David Schuler.

Daniel Eric Gold, Larry Keith, Mary McCann, Chris Messina, Thomas Jay Ryan and Ralph Waite make up the cast of This Thing of Darkness, the new drama co-written by Craig Lucas and David Schuler.

Off-Broadway's Atlantic Theatre Company will premiere the work, with previews beginning May 8 and an opening on May 30.

Lucas, best known for penning Prelude to a Kiss and The Dying Gaul, collaborated with actor-dramatist David Schulner on Darkness, which takes its title from a line spoken by Prospero in The Tempest. The play tells of two young men suddenly confronted by their futures, and "explores the nature and importance of love — that thread of continuity which helps us survive in an increasingly disposable culture."

Lucas, who has taken the occasional directing job in recent years, will stage his own work this time around. In the past, he has relied on the skills of such helmsmen as Mark Brokaw and Norman Rene.

Lucas was last represented on the New York stage with Stranger, which played the Vineyard Theatre last season. The play was the latest in a string of dark, stinging works, including God's Heart and The Dying Gaul, to come from the playwright's pen. Lucas founded his career on more whimsical, if often melancholy, titles such as Prelude to a Kiss, which played Broadway, and Blue Window, which has been frequently revived. The writer has worked with collaborators in the past. With Rene, he created the Sondheim revue Marry Me a Little; and with Gerald Busby, the vest-pocket opera Orpheus in Love. Schulner wrote The Infinite Ache, which ran at Long Wharf Theatre earlier this season.

Waite, best known for "The Waltons," starred in the original production of Horton Foote's The Young Man From Atlanta. In 2000, he played King Lear in a small Off Broadway staging of the tragedy.

Keith played Isidor Strauss in the Broadway production of Titanic. Off-Broadway, he was in After Play. Daniel Eric Gold was in Dealer's Choice at Manhattan Theatre Club and Beautiful Thing at Cherry Lane Theatre. McCann, a longtime Atlantic member, has appeared in The Beginning of August, Edmond, Dangerous Corner and Missing Persons at that theatre.

Chris Messina acted in Blur at Manhattan Theatre Club and Jessica Goldberg's Refuge and The Hologram Theory at Playwrights Horizons and Blue Light Theatre Company, respectively. Ryan, who has been in such films as "Henry Fool" and "The Legend of Bagger Vance," was in the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of Juno and the Paycock.

The creative team includes John McDermott (Sets), Candice Donnelly (Costumes), Christopher Akerlind (Lights) and Scott Myers (Sound). The Atlantic Theater Company is located at 336 West 20th Street. For tickets call (212) 239-6200.

—By Robert Simonson