Inspired by Hamlet, Humble Boy Makes U.S. Debut April 22 at MTC

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22 Apr 2003

Jared Harris, son of the late Richard Harris, is Felix Humble in the American premiere of Charlotte Jones' Humble Boy, directed by John Caird, starting April 22 at Manhattan Theatre Club's Stage I.

Blair Brown (Copenhagen) plays his mum, Flora. The cast also includes Paul Hecht, Mary Beth Hurt, Bernie McInerney and Ana Reeder. The play, inspired by Hamlet, was the winner of the 2001 Critics Circle Best Play Award, playing the Royal National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre in fall 2001. Opening at MTC — the not for-profit devoted to new or new-to-New-York plays — is May 18.

In Humble Boy, 35-year-old Felix Humble, a Cambridge astro-physicist, returns home to his bee keeping father's funeral in middle England, only to discover his difficult and domineering mother in the arms of another man. As he struggles to find his balance in the midst of familial chaos, "what emerges is a touching, funny and entertaining dysfunctional family portrait," according to MTC.

Simon Russell Beale (who recently wowed American audiences in Twelfth Night and Uncle Vanya at the Brooklyn Academy of Music) originated the role of Felix, with Diana Rigg as the mother.

Set and costumes are by Tim Hatley, with lighting by Paul Pyant, repeating their London roles. Sound is by Christopher Shutt and Joe Cutler wrote the original music.



Humble Boy was originally commissioned and developed by Matthew Byam Shaw and Anna Mackmin and was originally produced by the Royal National Theatre before transferring to the West End. Caird directed the original production, as well as the West End transfer.

Director Caird is best known for lavish productions of the musicals Jane Eyre and Les Misérables. Humble Boy was Charlotte Jones' first play at the Royal National Theatre. Her previous work includes In Flame, seen in London.

Coming up at MTC's Stage II is the world premiere of Marsha Norman's The Last Dance, directed by artistic director Lynne Meadow, beginning previews May 6.

MTC is in City Center, at 131 W. 55th Street. For more information, visit ManhattanTheatreClub.org.