Good People, Play of Aspiration and Escape, With Frances McDormand and Tate Donovan, Begins on Broadway
By Kenneth Jones
Good People, David Lindsay-Abaire's play about characters from his old neighborhood — the working-class "Southie" section of Boston — begins performances on Broadway Feb. 8 in a production by Manhattan Theatre Club.
Daniel Sullivan, who directed Lindsay-Abaire's Rabbit Hole on Broadway in 2005-06, the year before the play won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, directs the world premiere of Good People, at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (formerly, the Biltmore, where Rabbit Hole was staged).
Academy Award winner Frances McDormand plays a poor woman who seeks out an old friend (played by Tate Donovan) who shed his hardscrabble roots and rose to affluence.
Oscar winner Estelle Parsons (August: Osage County, "Bonnie and Clyde," "Roseanne") joins Donovan ("Damages," "The O.C." Amy's View) and McDormand ("Fargo," North Atlantic), along with Becky Ann Baker (All My Sons, Assassins), Patrick Carroll (Broadway debut) and Emmy Award nominee Renée Elise Goldsberry ("One Life to Live," Rent).
Opening night is March 3. Here's how Good People, a drama with humor, is billed by MTC: "Welcome to Southie, a Boston neighborhood where a night on the town means a few rounds of bingo… where this month's paycheck covers last month's bills… and where Margie Walsh (McDormand) has just been let go from yet another job. Facing eviction and scrambling to catch a break, Margie thinks an old fling (Donovan) who has made it out of Southie might be her ticket to a fresh new start. But is this apparently self-made man secure enough to face his humble beginnings? Margie is about to risk what little she has left to find out."
Donovan drew on his Irish roots for the role of a man who fled Irish-Catholic Southie. He recently told Playbill magazine, "After the audition, Dan [Sullivan] looked up and said to me, 'Well, you know this guy.' I just feel that way. I'm Irish Catholic. My father was a doctor who came from a very poor Brooklyn neighborhood and pulled himself up out of that. It's the same situation. …I personally know it because becoming an actor is tough. Everyone thinks you can't do it. My family was not thrilled I wanted to be an actor. Coming out and making your life and becoming your own person is hard enough — then, when your old life comes back and introduces itself to you, it's uncomfortable. You miss the old days, the old neighborhood. You have this great warmth — but you also have sort of a disgust — for it. You just want to leave all of that behind you."
The creative team for Good People includes John Lee Beatty (scenic design), David Zinn (costume design), Pat Collins (lighting design) and Jill BC DuBoff (sound design). Sullivan directed Rabbit Hole on Broadway, plus Proof and the current The Merchant of Venice.
Lindsay-Abaire's work includes Shrek The Musical (book and lyrics) and the plays Fuddy Meers, Kimberly Akimbo, Wonder of the World, High Fidelity and A Devil Inside, among others.
Good People tickets are available by calling Telecharge at (212) 239-6200, online by visiting www.Telecharge.com, or by visiting the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre box office (261 West 47th Street). Ticket prices are $57-$121.
For more information on MTC, ease visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.
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