David Lindsay-Abaire's Good People Opens on Broadway; Frances McDormand, Tate Donovan Star

By Kenneth Jones
March 3, 2011

Good People, David Lindsay-Abaire's humor-laced drama about a paycheck-to-paycheck single mom reaching out to an old flame, who is now a success, opens on Broadway March 3. Frances McDormand and Tate Donovan play the opposite sides of the class divide.



Lindsay-Abaire, a Pulitzer Prize winner for Rabbit Hole, reunites with Tony Award-winning director Daniel Sullivan for the story that's set in working-class South Boston, called "Southie" by the locals, where the playwright grew up.

The Manhattan Theatre Club production began performances Feb. 8 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre — the same place (under the marquee of the Biltmore) where the Sullivan-directed Rabbit Hole premiered in 2006.

Read Playbill.com's recent Brief Encounter interview with Lindsay-Abaire, whose past work includes Shrek the Musical, High Fidelity, Fuddy Meers, Wonder of the World and Kimberly Akimbo.

Here's how MTC bills Good People: "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."

In addition to Academy Award winner McDormand ("Fargo," Wooster Group's North Atlantic) and Donovan (Lobby Hero, "Damages," "The O.C."), the company includes Oscar winner Estelle Parsons (August: Osage County, "Bonnie and Clyde," "Roseanne"), Becky Ann Baker (All My Sons, Assassins), Patrick Carroll (Broadway debut) and Emmy Award nominee Renée Elise Goldsberry ("One Life to Live," Rent).

 

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.

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.