Desert Divorce: Regrets, With Alexis Bledel, Adriane Lenox and Ansel Elgort, Premieres at MTC
By Kenneth Jones
The world-premiere production of British playwright Matt Charman's Regrets, about men biding their time at a Nevada ranch while waiting for quick divorces in the 1950s, begins previews March 8 at Manhattan Theatre Club's Off-Broadway home at City Center Stage I. Alexis Bledel of TV's "Gilmore Girls" and Tony Award winner Adriane Lenox (MTC's Doubt) are among cast members.
The limited engagement to April 29 also features Curt Bouril ("Boardwalk Empire"), Ansel Elgort (Off-Broadway debut), Brian Hutchison (MTC's From Up Here, Broadway's Looped), Lucas Caleb Rooney (Orphan's Home Cycle) and Richard Topol (The Normal Heart).
Carolyn Cantor (After the Revolution at Playwrights Horizons, Pumpgirl at Manhattan Theatre Club, In A Dark Dark House at MCC Theater) directs. Opening night is March 27.
Charman is making his New York City debut with Regrets, which is billed this way: "Caleb Farley (Ansel Elgort) is the youngest man ever to show up at Mrs. Duke's (Adriane Lenox) cabins, a ramshackle retreat in the Nevada desert and one of the few places men can go to secure a quick divorce in 1950s America. Caleb claims he fled his Hollywood home for the same reason as the other men in camp — to shed the lives and wives they've known, and loved, to begin anew. But in an era of heightened fears and political distrust, accusations that Caleb is hiding more than just a broken heart test each man's loyalty — to country and to one another. This fascinating new drama is an uncommon tale of friendship, loss and finding the courage of one's convictions."
Bledel, who played daughter Rory Gilmore on "Gilmore Girls" and starred in the film "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," plays a young local woman of questionable reputation.
"I am drawn into the emotionally rich, nuanced and unique landscape of Matt Charman's Regrets," MTC artistic producer Mandy Greenfield, who programs work for MTC at Stage I, told Playbill.com. "Matt's keen ear for dialogue and deeply drawn characters come together in a place and under circumstances I've rarely seen depicted on stage: a ramshackle retreat in the Nevada desert, 1954, where four men meet, as they sit out a six-week stay to establish residency and secure a quick divorce. I am excited to begin previews, and the next stage of our work together, on this beautiful and distinct play."
The creative team for Regrets includes Rachel Hauck (scenic design), Ilona Somogyi (costume design), Ben Stanton (lighting design), Jill BC Du Boff (sound design) and Thomas Schall (fight direction).
Charman's first play, A Night at the Dogs (at Soho Theatre, London), won the Verity Bargate Award for new writers. Other productions include The Observer, directed by Sir Richard Eyre, and The Five Wives of Maurice Pinder, which both premiered at the National Theatre of Great Britain. Charman was previously Pearson Writer in Residence at the National Theatre and is a recipient of the Peggy Ramsay Award. The Observer won the 2008 Catherine Johnson Award for Best Play. Charman is currently writing two screenplays for Universal/Working Title Film as well as an original drama series for the BBC.
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