Clashing Beliefs Color Next Fall, Opening on Broadway March 11
By Kenneth Jones
Next Fall, American playwright Geoffrey Nauffts' acclaimed romantic comedy-drama that explores questions of love, sexuality, religion, family and tolerance, opens at Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre March 11 following previews that began Feb. 16.
(A VIP party celebrating the production was held March 10, the day before the official opening night. John, the composer of Broadway's Aida, The Lion King and Billy Elliot, attended.)
Sheryl Kaller (Dangerous Beauty, Adrift in Macao, Last Smoker in America) directs the play, as she did when it first surfaced Off-Broadway in summer 2009, produced by Naked Angels Theater Company. In a rare move, the producers chose to lift the entire (starless) Off-Broadway cast to Broadway. The company includes Patrick Breen as Adam, Maddie Corman as Holly, Sean Dugan as Brandon, Patrick Heusinger as Luke, Connie Ray as Arlene and Cotter Smith as Butch.
Heusinger ("Gossip Girl," Spamalot) and Breen (Fuddy Meers, Brighton Beach Memoirs) play gay partners: One is a devout Christian and the other is an atheist.
According to production notes, "Geoffrey Nauffts' Next Fall takes a witty and provocative look at faith, commitment and unconditional love. While the play's central story focuses on the five-year relationship between Adam and Luke, Next Fall goes beyond a typical love story. This timely and compelling new American play forces us all to examine what it means to 'believe' and what it might cost us not to."
Of the producers' wholesale move of the company from Off-Broadway to on, Kaller told Playbill.com, "It's so exciting for so many reasons. The first reason is that they believed in us, all of us, and on a very, very profound level they know what it takes to produce good art — and you don't mess with that. The magic worked. [Producer] Rich Willis always says that 'all we need to do is stay out of our own way.'"
In addition to Elton John and his partner David Furnish, the producers are Barbara Manocherian, Richard Willis, Tom Smedes, Carole L. Haber/Chase Mishkin Ostar, Anthony Barrile, Michael Palitz, Bob Boyett, James Spry/Catherine Schreiber, Probo Productions, Roy Furman in association with Naked Angels (Geoffrey Nauffts, artistic director; John Alexander, managing director; Andy Donald, associate artistic director; Brittany O'Neill, producer). Susan Mindell is the executive producer.
The production's understudies are David Adkins, Clayton Apgar and Kristie Dale Sanders.
The creative team for Next Fall includes Wilson Chin (set design), Jeff Croiter (lighting design), John Gromada (sound design) and Jess Goldstein (costume design).
This is writer Nauffts' Broadway debut. In addition to his work as an actor, Nauffts has directed plays by Kenneth Lonergan, Frank Pugliese, David Marshall Grant, Theresa Rebeck and Suzan-Lori Parks, as well as Steven Belber's Tape in New York, Los Angeles and London. He wrote, directed and co-starred in the award-winning short film "Baby Steps" with Kathy Bates and co-wrote "Jenifer," a movie of the week for CBS. He's currently collaborating with Anthony Barrile and Elton John on a score for "Showstopper," a screenplay he co-wrote with Barrile for Ben Stiller's company, Red Hour. In fall 2007 he took over as artistic director of Naked Angels where he has been a member for over 22 years.
The performance schedule to March 14 is Monday-Saturday at 8 PM, Wednesday & Saturday at 3 PM. Beginning March 15, shows play Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday-Saturday at 8 PM, Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday at 3 PM.
Tickets are available by calling Telecharge.com at (212) 239-6200, (800) 432-7250 outside the NY metro area, online at Telecharge.com or in person at the Helen Hayes Theatre box office (240 West 44th Street). Tickets are $116.50 each.
For more information, visit NextFallBroadway.
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