The Temperamentals, with Urie and Ryan, Opens Off-Broadway Feb. 28

By Adam Hetrick
28 Feb 2010

The American gay rights movement dawns in Jon Marans' acclaimed drama The Temperamentals, starring Michael Urie and Thomas Jay Ryan, which officially opens Off-Broadway Feb. 28 at New World Stages.



Director Jonathan Silverstein, who staged the original Off-Broadway production last season, reunites with members of the original cast for the new commercial run that began previews Feb. 18. Daryl Roth, Stacy Shane and Martian Entertainment produce.

The Temperamentals premiered in 2009 as a showcase production at the TBG Theater's 40-seat Black Box Studio, and later extended into a full two-month run at the TBG's 99-seat space. Critics praised the production.

Ryan (In the Next Room) appears as Harry Hay with "Ugly Betty" actor Urie as his lover Rudi Gernreich. The cast also features Matthew Schneck and Sam Breslin Wright. Arnie Burton, of Broadway's The 39 Steps, is new to the commercial run.

The Temperamentals tells the story of two men the communist Harry Hay and the Viennese refugee and designer Rudi Gernreich as they fall in love while building the first gay rights organization in the United States, pre-Stonewall. According to production notes, "The play weaves together the personal and political to tell a relatively unknown chapter in gay history. It explores the love between two complex men, as their impossible dream of forming such an unheard of organization becomes a reality in this perilous, unpredictable world. It is an intimate portrayal of the men who created history and the epic struggles they overcame. The characters consist of the actual men who founded the Mattachine Society (Harry Hay, Rudi Gernreich, Chuck Rowland, Bob Hull, and Dale Jennings), as well as other prominent figures of the time in Hollywood and the film industry as well as the world of fashion."

The set and costume design is by Clint Ramos, with lighting by Josh Bradford and sound design by Daniel Kluger.

Tickets, priced $65, are available by phoning (212) 239-6200 or by visiting Telecharge.com. New World Stages is located at 340 West 50th Street.

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"Temperamental," according to earlier press notes for the Barrow Group Theater run Off-Broadway, "was a code word for 'homosexual' in the early 1950s, part of a created language of secret words that gay men used to communicate."

Jon Marans' Old Wicked Songs was a 1996 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama, winner of New York Drama League, L.A. Drama Logue Award, and included in Otis Guernsey's Best Plays of 1996-97. It has been produced in over a dozen countries including in London's West End with Bob Hoskins and James Callis.

Jonathan Silverstein's recent credits are the acclaimed Off-Broadway revivals of The Dining Room (Drama Desk nomination; Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble) and Tea and Sympathy, both for the Keen Company, where he serves as resident director.

For more information, visit TheTemperamentals.