Anthony LaPaglia Is Dick Nixon in New Off-Broadway Play, Checkers, Oct. 12-Nov. 18

By Kenneth Jones
12 Oct 2012

Anthony LaPaglia
Anthony LaPaglia
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Tony Award winner Anthony LaPaglia plays Richard M. Nixon opposite Tony nominee Kathryn Erbe as wife Pat in Douglas McGrath's new political-minded play, Checkers, beginning Oct. 12 at Off-Broadway's Vineyard Theatre. Terry Kinney (Broadway's reasons to be pretty) directs the world-premiere production, set to open Oct. 31.

The cast also includes Kelly Coffield Park, Joel Marsh Garland, Kevin O'Rourke, John Ottovino, Mark Shanahan, Lewis J. Stadlen and Robert Stanton.

Here's how Checkers is billed: "It's 1952. Richard Nixon (LaPaglia) is campaigning as his party's candidate for Vice-President, his wife Pat (Erbe) proudly at his side, when an accusation of financial impropriety almost ends his promising career. In a momentous speech, he takes charge of his fate, and changes the character of American politics forever. Checkers is a revelatory look at Nixon's drive, history and most surprisingly, his marriage to Pat — all of which are explored with insight, blistering wit and unexpected tenderness."

McGrath wrote the screenplays for "Infamous" and "Emma." The creative team includes Neil Patel (scenic design), Sarah Holden (costume design), David Weiner (lighting design), Millburn/Bodeen (music and sound design) and Darrel Maloney (projection design).



LaPaglia most recently starred as Tito Merelli in the Stanley Tucci-directed revival of Ken Ludwig's farce Lend Me a Tenor on Broadway. He won Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critic Circle Awards for playing Eddie Carbone in A View From the Bridge on Broadway in 1998.

Erbe is best known for playing Detective Alexandra Eames in "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." Erbe's television credits include playing the infamous death row inmate Shirley Bellinger on the acclaimed HBO series "Oz." She also appeared on NBC's "Homicide: Life on the Street," the miniseries "George Wallace," Showtime's original production of "Naked City: Justice with a Bullet," NBC's "Another World" and the television movie "Breathing Lessons." She is a member of the Steppenwolf Theater Company and has starred in many of their productions. She earned a Tony Award nomination in 1991 for her portrayal of Mary in Speed of Darkness.

McGrath is the author of the play The Big Day and has performed his one-man show Political Animal Off-Broadway. He collaborated with Woody Allen on the screenplay for "Bullets Over Broadway," for which they were nominated for an Academy Award. He began his career as a writer for "Saturday Night Live."

Scheduled currently through Nov. 18, Checkers plays Tuesdays at 7 PM, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 PM and Saturdays and Sundays at 3 PM. Tickets are $75 (premium tickets are $100).

Tickets can be reserved by calling The Vineyard box office at (212) 353-0303 or online at vineyardtheatre.org.

Vineyard Theatre is located at 108 E.15th Street (between Irving Place and Union Square East).

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Vineyard Theatre's leadership includes Douglas Aibel (artistic director), Jennifer Garvey-Blackwell (executive producer), Sarah Stern (co-artistic director) and Michael Page (general manager).