PHOTO CALL: Broadway's High, With Kathleen Turner, Opens in Boston
By Matthew Blank
Kathleen Turner reprised her Broadway turn as a tough-talking nun who counsels a young drug addict in a Boston engagement of Matthew Lombardo's drama High, Dec. 6-11 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre.
A Ft. Lauderdale, FL, booking of the production, again directed by Rob Ruggiero, will play The Parker Playhouse Feb. 29-March 4, 2012.
Lombardo's lurid drama — spiced with nudity, profanity and violence seen and unseen — again featured rising actor Evan Jonigkeit as addict Cody Randall, who is mysteriously connected to Father Michael Delpapp, played by the Broadway production's understudy Timothy Altmeyer. (Stephen Kunken, a Tony Award nominee for Enron, originated the role.)
The play was not embraced by critics, but two-time Golden Globe winner, Academy Award and Tony Award nominee Turner drew interest for her star power and for her voracious performance.
Ruggiero told Playbill.com on Dec. 4, "The actors and I continue to believe in the profound message of Matthew's play. We have discovered new levels of understanding, and trusting our choices has resulted in a greater sense of freedom and truth. The play is essentially what Broadway audiences experienced, but Matthew has responded to our discoveries with minor edits and tweaks. We're having a wonderful time."
Lombardo told Playbill.com, "The Broadway experience of High solidified my belief in being true to my work. I told the story I set out to tell. And in doing so, I have now been rewarded with the opportunity to share this production with audiences all over the country."
The first international Spanish translation of High, called Alto, will open in Venezuela in January 2012 at El Teatro Trasnocho.
Lombardo's plays include Broadway's Looped and Off-Broadway's Tea at Five, plus Mother and Child and Guilty Innocence. The film rights to High have been optioned by director Mark Kohl, and the first draft of the screenplay has been turned in.
Ruggiero directed Looped and High on Broadway, plus popular regional engagements of Ella, which he co-conceived, and the recent Goodspeed Musicals revival of Show Boat, among many other works.
Turner was Tony-nominated as Martha in the 2005 revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? She also appeared in Broadway's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Indiscretions and The Graduate. Her films include "Prizzi's Honor," "The War of the Roses," "Body Heat," "Peggy Sue Got Married" and "The Jewel of the Nile," among many others.
For his work as the bruised and bruising Cody, Jonigkeit was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play.
Here's how High is billed: "When Sister Jamison Connelly (Turner) agrees to sponsor a 19 year-old drug user in an effort to help him combat his addiction, her own faith is ultimately tested. Struggling between the knowledge she possesses as a rehabilitation counselor and a woman of religious conviction, she begins to question her belief in miracles and whether people can find the courage to change. High explores the universal themes of truth, forgiveness, redemption and human fallibility."
High is produced by Ann Cady Scott & Timothy J. Hampton in association with The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.
The design team includes David Gallo (sets), Jess Goldstein (costumes) John Lasiter (lighting) and Vincent Olivieri (sound and original music).
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