By Kenneth Jones
29 May 2011
|Photo by Joan Marcus|
The Manhattan Theatre Club production earned two 2011 Tony Award nominations: one for Best Play and one for Best Lead Actress, for Frances McDormand. Lindsay-Abaire is the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Rabbit Hole. He grew up in the setting of the play — working-class South Boston, called "Southie" by the locals.
Good People, co-starring Tate Donovan and directed by Daniel Sullivan, opened on March 3 to positive reviews from critics and enthusiastic houses. At close, the play will have run 101 regular performances and 27 previews.
Here's how MTC bills Good People: "Welcome to Southie, a Boston neighborhood where a night on the town means a few rounds of bingo… where this month's paycheck covers last month's bills… and where Margie Walsh (McDormand) has just been let go from yet another job. Facing eviction and scrambling to catch a break, Margie thinks an old fling (Donovan) who has made it out of Southie might be her ticket to a fresh new start. But is this apparently self-made man secure enough to face his humble beginnings? Margie is about to risk what little she has left to find out."
New York Drama Critics' Circle (NYDCC) announced May 9 that the winner of the 76th annual New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play of the 2010-2011 season is David Lindsay-Abaire's Good People.
The production began performances Feb. 8. In addition to Academy Award winner McDormand ("Fargo," Wooster Group's North Atlantic) and Donovan (Lobby Hero, "Damages," "The O.C."), the company includes Oscar winner Estelle Parsons (August: Osage County, "Bonnie and Clyde," "Roseanne"), Becky Ann Baker (All My Sons, Assassins), Patrick Carroll (Broadway debut) and Emmy Award nominee Renée Elise Goldsberry ("One Life to Live," Rent).
Donovan drew on his Irish roots for the role of a man who fled Irish-Catholic Southie. He told Playbill magazine, "After the audition, Dan [Sullivan] looked up and said to me, 'Well, you know this guy.' I just feel that way. I'm Irish Catholic. My father was a doctor who came from a very poor Brooklyn neighborhood and pulled himself up out of that. It's the same situation. …I personally know it because becoming an actor is tough. Everyone thinks you can't do it. My family was not thrilled I wanted to be an actor. Coming out and making your life and becoming your own person is hard enough — then, when your old life comes back and introduces itself to you, it's uncomfortable. You miss the old days, the old neighborhood. You have this great warmth — but you also have sort of a disgust — for it. You just want to leave all of that behind you."
The creative team for Good People includes John Lee Beatty (scenic design), David Zinn (costume design), Pat Collins (lighting design) and Jill BC DuBoff (sound design). Sullivan directed Rabbit Hole on Broadway, plus Proof and the current The Merchant of Venice.
For more information on MTC, please visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.