Write Stuff: Theresa Rebeck's Seminar, Starring Alan Rickman, Opens on Broadway

News   Write Stuff: Theresa Rebeck's Seminar, Starring Alan Rickman, Opens on Broadway
 
Seminar, Theresa Rebeck's new play about the creative and personal tensions of four young novelists who are taking a private writing class with a potentially damaging teacher, opens on Broadway Nov. 20. Alan Rickman — an actor often on the brink of a sneer — is the critic-editor whose tongue is dipped in poison.

Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman Photo by Jeremy Daniel

At the Golden Theatre on West 45th Street, where previews began Oct. 27, the writers in the orbit of Rickman's editor are played by Tony Award nominee Lily Rabe (The Merchant of Venice) and Broadway newcomers Jerry O'Connell (Hollywood's "Stand By Me" and "Jerry Maguire" and TV's "Crossing Jordan" and "The Defenders"); Obie Award winner Hamish Linklater (the recent School for Lies Off-Broadway and TV's "The New Adventures of Old Christine"); and Hettienne Park (Tony Kushner's The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures).

Tony Award nominee Rickman has been celebrated for Broadway's Private Lives and Les Liaisons Dangereuses. He was Prof. Snape in the "Harry Potter" film franchise, and a particularly memorable screen villain in "Die Hard."

Sam Gold (Circle Mirror Transformation, The Aliens, We Live Here) directs, making his Broadway debut.

In Seminar, according to the producers, "four aspiring young novelists sign up for private writing classes with Leonard, an international literary figure. Under his recklessly brilliant and unorthodox instruction, some thrive and others flounder, alliances are made and broken, sex is used as a weapon and hearts are unmoored. The wordplay is not the only thing that turns vicious as innocence collides with experience in this provocative new comedy."

Jerry O'Connell and Lily Rabe
photo by Jeremy Daniel

Rickman told Playbill magazine that he was drawn to the "terrific writing" of the play: "As an actor, I'm absolutely dependent on what I see on the page. I've an instinct for good writing, where images jump off the page and tell me what to do. I just sit there and wait, and if it's good writing, it's like being smacked in the face with ideas. "We had a reading of it earlier this year — I wasn't sure I'd even be doing it — but at the end of the reading, there was such a groundswell of enthusiasm for Theresa's play, that that kinda took over. It's the sort of new play where the least anybody knows about it, the better. People should come avoiding knowing anything. Just come. Sit down. Wait for the lights to come on, and hopefully, about 90 minutes later, the lights will go out and you will leave the theatre a different person."

Rebeck is the prolific Pulitzer Prize finalist and Peabody Award winner known for her plays Mauritius, Our House, The Scene, The Understudy, Omnium Gatherum, The Family of Mann, Spike Heels and Poor Behavior. She is the creator and showrunner of NBC's upcoming series about musical theatre people "Smash." Read Playbill.com's Brief Encounter Q&A with Rebeck.

The production features set and costume design by Tony Award nominee and two-time Obie Award winner David Zinn, lighting design by Drama Desk Award nominee Ben Stanton and original music and sound design by two-time Drama Desk Award winner John Gromada.

The play's producers are Jeffrey Finn, Jill Furman, John N. Hart Jr., Patrick Milling Smith, Roy Furman, David Ian, David Mirvish, Amy Nauiokas and James Spry.

Tickets are $51.50-126.50, with Premium seating also available. Tickets are also on sale at www.telecharge.com or by calling (212) 239-6200.

Visit www.SeminarOnBroadway.com.

View Playbill Video's preview of the show:

 

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