Following its recent run through March 19 at the Acorn Theatre, the staging by New Group artistic director Scott Elliott (Aunt Dan and Lemon) with a revised script by Rabe began anew April 11 at the new 499-seat theatre.
Interspersed with 80's music (Talking Heads, Queen and David Bowie) and occasional glimpses of the world through the set's pre-remote-controlled television ("The Smurfs," "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson"), Rabe's revised drama follows the lives of four men working the Hollywood machine. The quartet pontificate on their ex-wives, friendships and work while enduring life through vices (drugs, alcohol and women).
The starry company, who return for the new Off-Broadway run, is known for their work on screen as well as stage. Hawke's credits include Henry IV and "Reality Bites"; Shawn's include Aunt Dan and Lemon and "The Princess Bride"; Posey has been in Fifth of July and "Waiting for Guffman"; Bobby Cannavale has acted in Fucking A and "The Station Agent"; Josh Hamilton was featured in Proof and "With Honors"; Catherine Kellner was seen in The Long Christmas Ride Home and "200 Cigarettes"; and Halley Wegryn Gross appeared in True Love and "Third Watch".
"It's quite different than the one that was [originally] performed Off-Broadway and on Broadway back 20 years ago," director Elliott previously told Playbill.com about Rabe's new script for his troupe's staging. "The reason to do a revival with a writer who is still alive is so that they can realize it in a way that's different if they want to."
The now two-act drama includes a scene cut from the original production. "There's a crucial character development [in the cut scene] that was never seen in New York. [Rabe] wanted to put it back in," explained Elliott. Rabe also made trims to the script to counterbalance the length of the work. Hurlyburly began previews at the Acorn Theatre Jan. 11 opened Jan. 27 to positive critical response. The run, originally set through March 5, then added two more weeks of performances.
There had been talk that Hurlyburly might find its way to a Broadway theatre as the play did 20 years ago when the original production moved from Off-Broadway to the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in August 1984. The transfer was determined as a more financially-viable way to keep the production running.
According to the producers, a 12-week run Off-Broadway will cost $650,000 to produce; a similar Broadway stay would require $1.8 million. The revival company all agreed to play a minimum of 12 weeks at the new space.
The design team of Hurlyburly includes Derek McLane (sets), Jeff Mahshie (costumes), Jason Lyons (lights) and Ken Travis (sound). J. Steven White serves as fight director while Valerie Peterson is production stage manager.
Hurlyburly originally ran Off-Broadway in 1984 with Mike Nichols directing a cast that included William Hurt, Judith Ivey, Harvey Keitel, Cynthia Nixon, Ron Silver, Jerry Stiller and Sigourney Weaver. The work then transferred to Broadway garnering four Tony nominations (with one win for Ivey). Rabe later adapted it for the screen for the 1998 film starring Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, Anna Paquin, Meg Ryan, Chazz Palminteri and Robin Wright Penn.
Tickets to Hurlyburly at 37 Arts, 450 West 37th Street (near 10th Ave.) are available by calling (212) 307-4100.