Tony-Winning Christopher Durang Comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Extends Again; Julie White to Join Cast

By Adam Hetrick
10 Jun 2013

Shalita Grant and Kristine Nielsen
Shalita Grant and Kristine Nielsen
Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Christopher Durang's Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play, has extended its Broadway run for a final time through Aug. 25 at the John Golden Theatre. Tony Award-winning actress Julie White will join the cast.

Critics and audiences responded warmly to the farce that weaves themes from Russian playwright Anton Chekhov's catalogue into a weekend of costumes, prophecies and existential longing. The play began Broadway previews March 5 and officially opened March 14. It was originally scheduled to conclude its run June 30. 

Sigourney Weaver, who originated the role of Masha, will play her final performance on July 28. White (The Little Dog Laughed, The Heidi Chronicles), will take over the role July 30 through the remainder of the extension.

The play received six Tony Award nominations, and won for Best Play. Cast members Kristine Nielsen, David Hyde Pierce, Shalita Grant and Billy Magnussen were also Tony-nominated, as was director Nicholas Martin. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike was also honored this season with the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Broadway Play.



Martin, who also helmed Durang's Why Torture Is Wrong and Betty's Summer Vacation, directs the production that had its world premiere at the McCarter Theatre Center in New Jersey earlier this fall, prior to a New York run that opened Off-Broadway Nov. 12, 2012, at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater.

The cast features three-time Oscar nominee Weaver ("Working Girl" "Alien"), a veteran of Durang's Sex and Longing, Crazy Mary, Beyond Therapy; and Durang favorite, Obie Award winner Nielsen as Sonia, who appeared in Betty’s Summer Vacation and Why Torture Is Wrong and The People Who Love Them.

Also starring are Tony and Emmy Award winner Pierce (Curtains, Spamalot, "Frasier") as Vanya, Genevieve Angelson ("Army Wives") as Nina, Grant (The Merchant of Venice at Shakespeare in the Park) as Cassandra and Magnussen (The Ritz, "Boardwalk Empire") as Spike.

Sigourney Weaver
photo by T. Charles Erickson

Here's how it's billed: "Riffing on some of Anton Chekov's most time-tested themes, Christopher Durang proves in his hysterically funny and surprisingly affecting new romp, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, that whether you're in 19th Century Russia or 21st Century Pennsylvania, the human condition never changes. Vanya (Pierce) and Sonia (Nielsen) have never left the confines of their childhood home – a rambling farmhouse in Bucks County, PA – while having to witness the glamorous exploits of their sister, Masha (Weaver), a famous movie actress, from afar. A surprise visit from Masha and her 20-something boy toy, Spike (Magnussen), throws the normally quiet household int0 utter upheaval as its residents and visitors get swept up in an intoxicating mixture of lust, rivalry, regret, and the sudden possibility of escape. Only one thing is certain: no one will get out of this without looking absolutely ridiculous!"

The creative team also includes set designer David Korins, costume designer Emily Rebholz, lighting designer Justin Townsend, composer of original music and sound designer Mark Bennett.

Durang's plays include A History of the American Film (Tony nomination), Sister Mary Explains It All For You (Obie Award), Beyond Therapy, Baby With The Bathwater, The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Obie Award and Guild Hull Warriner Award), Sex and Longing, Laughing Wild, Betty's Summer Vacation (Obie Award), Miss Witherspoon (produced by McCarter Theatre Center, 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist) and, most recently, Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them.

The Broadway run is produced by Joey Parnes, Larry Hirschhorn, Joan Raffe/Jhett Tolentino, Martin Platt & David Elliott, Pat Flicker Addiss, Catherine Adler, John O’Boyle, Joshua Goodman, Jamie DeRoy/Richard Winkler, Cricket Hooper Jiranek/Michael Palitz, Mark S. Golub & David S. Golub, Radio Mouse Entertainment, Shadowcatcher Entertainment, Mary Cossette/Barbara Manocherian, Megan Savage/Meredith Lynsey Schade, Hugh Hysell/Richard Jordan, Cheryl Wiesenfeld/Ron Simons, S.D. Wagner, and John Johnson, in association with The McCarter Theatre Center and Lincoln Center Theater.

For tickets visit Telecharge.com. The Golden Theatre is located at 252 West 45th Street. 

View highlights from the production below: