Well Star to Appear in NYC Premiere of Pain and the Itch by Playwrights Horizons

News   Well Star to Appear in NYC Premiere of Pain and the Itch by Playwrights Horizons Tony Award nominee Jayne Houdyshell, who embraced naturalism as a lethargic Midwest mom in Broadway's Well, will appear in the New York premiere of The Pain and the Itch for Playwrights Horizons.
Jayne Houdyshell from the Broadway comedy Well.
Jayne Houdyshell from the Broadway comedy Well. Photo by Joan Marcus

Houdyshell, a respected American actress who has appeared in plays all over the country and Off-Broadway, made her Broadway debut with Well in 2006. She told Playbill columnist Harry Haun that she'll be in Bruce Norris' The Pain and the Itch, recreating the role she played in its Chicago premiere by Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Houdyshell and Norris were both recipients of Joseph Jefferson Awards for their work on the 2005 Steppenwolf world premiere of The Pain and the Itch (he won for New Work, she for Supporting Actress in a Play). Norris tied in the New Work category with Adam Rapp, whose Red Light Winter was also produced by Steppenwolf that season.

Jeff nominee Anna D. Shapiro will direct the Playwrights Horizons production. Previews begin Sept. 1 at PH's Mainstage Theater. Performances continue to Oct. 8.

Here's how the play is billed: "With a young daughter in serious need of attention and a ravenous creature possibly prowling the upstairs bedrooms, what begins as an average Thanksgiving for one white urban family unravels into an exposé of disastrous choices and less-than-altruistic motives. … The Pain and the Itch is a scathing satire of the politics of class and race, a controversial, painfully human examination of denial and its consequences."

Norris' plays (all produced by Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago) include The Infidel, Purple Heart, We All Went Down to Amsterdam and The Unmentionables. He also wrote and directed The Vanishing Twin for Lookingglass. As a playwright, this is his Playwrights Horizons debut, but as an actor, he appeared in the company's production of Plunge.

For more information, visit www.playwrightshorizons.org.

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