Trip Cullman Will Direct Jon Robin Baitz Drama The Substance of Fire at Second Stage

By Michael Gioia
17 Jan 2014

Jon Robin Baitz
Jon Robin Baitz
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Second Stage Theatre, under the artistic direction of Carole Rothman, will present Jon Robin Baitz's drama The Substance of Fire as part of the company's current 35th anniversary season, beginning April 22.

Trip Cullman (Choir Boy, Murder Ballad) will direct the production, which is scheduled to open May 12 at Second Stage's Tony Kiser Theatre.

Casting and the full creative team will be announced at a later date.

Baitz, playwright of Broadway's Other Desert Cities, made his New York playwriting debut at Second Stage Theatre in 1988 with The Film Society, starring Nathan Lane, Laila Robins and Daniel Gerroll. His career also includes the plays Three Hotels, A Fair Country, Mizlansy/Zilinsky or "Schmucks," Ten Unknowns and The Paris Letter.



"One of the highlights of the past 35 years has been the opportunity to introduce promising playwrights to New York audiences and I'm extremely proud to have given Robbie his first New York production back in 1988 with The Film Society," 2ST founder and artistic director Carole Rothman said in a statement. "It is a thrill to welcome him back to Second Stage for this 35th Anniversary season and to re-mount one of his most powerful plays in New York for the first time in over two decades."

The Substance of Fire is described as "a story of a family bound by a proud past but facing an uncertain future. Isaac Geldhart, the volatile and brilliant patriarch of his family publishing house, is stubbornly holding on to his place at the head of the company while his three children try to convince him to publish a desperately needed best-seller. Faced with a changing literary landscape and potential takeover of the company, the Geldhart children must either come to terms with their father and band together or break apart and forfeit the legacy he risked everything to build. Articulate and blessed with a lifesaving and cutting sense of humor, Isaac fights like a man with nothing to lose."

The original production of The Substance of Fire premiered at Playwrights Horizons in 1991, directed by Daniel Sullivan and starring Ron Rifkin and Sarah Jessica Parker. It subsequently transferred to Lincoln Center's Mitzi Newhouse Theater and was also made into a 1996 film.

The Tony Kiser Theatre is located at 305 West 43rd Street (just west of Eighth Avenue). For more information and tickets, call (212) 246-4422 or visit www.2ST.com.