Jonathan Groff, Rutina Wesley, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Will Rogers to Star in Premiere of The Submission
By Adam Hetrick
Tony Award nominee Jonathan Groff and "True Blood" actress Rutina Wesley will co-star in the MCC Theater world premiere of Jeff Talbott's The Submission Off-Broadway this fall.
Actor-playwright Talbott was named the inaugural winner of the Laurents-Hatcher Award for his comedy about a gay playwright, who writes under the female pen name Shaleeha G’ntamobi and earns acclaim for his drama about an African-American family.
Groff (Spring Awakening, Deathtrap, "Glee") is cast as playwright Danny Larsen, alongside Wesley ("True Blood," The Vertical Hour), Eddie Kaye Thomas (The Diary of Anne Frank, Bachelorette, "American Pie") and Will Rogers (Unnatural Acts, When the Rain Stops Falling).
Tony Award winner Walter Bobbie (Chicago, Venus in Fur) will stage The Submission, which will begin previews Sept. 8 towards a Sept. 26 opening at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. MCC Theater has extended the run an additional week of performances through Oct. 22.
According to MCC Theater, "Shaleeha G'ntamobi's stirring new play about an alcoholic black mother and her card sharp son trying to get out of the projects has just been accepted into the nation's preeminent theater festival. Trouble is, Shaleeha G'ntamobi doesn't exist, except in the imagination of wannabe-playwright Danny Larsen, who created her as a kind of affirmative-action nom-de-plume. But a nom-de-guerre may prove more useful as the lies pile up, shaky alliances are forged, and everyone dear to Danny must decide whether or not to run for cover as the whole thing threatens to blow up in his lily white face."
Talbott, who played David Frost in the U.S. regional premiere of Frost/Nixon and appeared on Broadway in the revival of Sly Fox, was named the recipient of the Laurents-Hatcher Award in February. The honor was endowed by Arthur Laurents and named for Laurents and his late partner Tom Hatcher. Laurents (Gypsy, West Side Story, "The Way We Were") presented Talbott with the prize of $50,000 (plus $100,000 to MCC) earlier this year. Laurents died weeks later at the age of 93.
A working actor and unproduced playwright, Talbott penned For Nate and Molly and Tender, plays seen in the student Yale Cabaret. His recent plays include twelve twenty-five and Elliot Yagovich. He also co-wrote Critical Moment, a two-hander, with 2010 Tony nominee Stephen Kunken. Under the title Festival Play, The Submission was a semi-finalist for the 2010 O'Neill Playwrights Conference.
Subscriptions to the MCC season are currently available. Visit mcctheater.org. The Lucille Lortel Theatre is located at 121 Christopher Street.
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