Hitting a Homer, An Iliad, With Denis O'Hare and Stephen Spinella, Opens Off-Broadway — Twice! — March 6-7

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06 Mar 2012

Denis O'Hare in <i>An Iliad.</i>
Denis O'Hare in An Iliad.
Photo by Joan Marcus

New York Theatre Workshop's New York City premiere of Denis O'Hare and Lisa Peterson's Homer-inspired one-man play An Iliad, gets two opening nights this week. Tony Award winners O'Hare and Stephen Spinella appear in rotating rep, with the former opening on March 6 and the latter on March 7.

Performances of the 100-minute distillation of the Trojan War epic by Homer (based on a translation by Robert Fagles) began Feb. 15 (O'Hare) and Feb. 17 (Spinella).

Peterson directs this New York City premiere. Seattle Repertory Theatre produced the world premiere (featuring resident actor Hans Altwies) in spring 2010, followed by Spinella (Angels in America) telling the tale at McCarter Theatre Center in fall 2010.

Read the recent Playbill magazine article about An Iliad. The run continues to March 25.

O'Hare is the Tony Award winner of Take Me Out, who is a star of TV's "True Blood" and "American Horror Story." He's also known for Broadway's Assassins and Sweet Charity. Spinella won consecutive Tony Awards for Best Featured Actor and Best Actor for his performance as Prior Walter in Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and Angels in America: Perestroika, respectively. He appeared at The Public in Tony Kushner's Intelligent Homosexual's Guide.



NYTW bills the work this way: "A sprawling yarn based on Homer's epic poem, An Iliad spins the familiar tale of gods and goddesses, undying love and endless battles told through an original and immediate voice. Tony Award-winning actors Denis O'Hare (Assassins, Take Me Out) and Stephen Spinella (Intelligent Homosexual's Guide…, Angels in America) will alternate as performers in this account of humanity's unshakeable attraction to violence, destruction and chaos. Has anything really changed since the Trojan War?"

Busy director Peterson, an Obie Award winner for directing Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, said in a statement, "In the beginning Denis and I were making An Iliad to be performed by him — but as things turned out, Denis wasn't able to play earlier productions of the work. At the McCarter Theatre we were blessed with the amazing Stephen Spinella who was so stunning that Denis and I decided it would be right to share the New York premiere with him."

Peterson added, "Since then, we've become interested in 'rhapsodes' that existed in ancient Greece. These were actors who learned portions of the 'Iliad' and the 'Odyssey' and recited them in turns as part of festivals. This tickled us, because it seemed to describe our own experience of rehearsing side by side and celebrating what's the same — and what isn't — in two remarkable actors telling a profound and ancient story night after night."

The production team includes set designer Rachel Hauck; costume designer Marina Draghici; lighting designer Scott Zielinski; sound designer Mark Bennett (who also wrote original music); production stage manager Donald Fried.

An Iliad was originally developed as part of the New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspects Program.

NYTW is at 79 E. 4th Street, between Bowery and Second Avenue, in the East Village. Tickets to An Iliad are $70 (with a number of discount ticket options available). The regular performance schedule is Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 PM; Thursday and Friday at 8 PM; Saturday at 3 PM and 8 PM; Sunday at 2 PM and 7 PM.

There will also be special student matinees on Wednesday, March 14, and Wednesday, March 21, both at 1 PM.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.ticketcentral.com or by phone at Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or at the NYTW box office.

For exact dates and times of performance, visit www.nytw.org.