PHOTO CALL: Anita Gillette, Phoebe Strole, David Wilson Barnes in Off-Broadway's The Big Meal
By Matthew Blank
Playwrights Horizons serves the New York City premiere of Dan LeFranc's The Big Meal, a play that spans 80 years in the life of a family in one setting — a restaurant — starting March 1. Tony Award winner Anita Gillette (Chapter Two, Mr. President) is among cast members playing multiple roles.
Obie Award winner Sam Gold (Circle Mirror Transformation and Kin at PH, Seminar on Broadway, Off-Broadway's Tigers Be Still, The Aliens, The Coward and Roundabout's current Look Back in Anger) directs the play by the author of Sixty Miles to Silver Lake (at P73/Soho Rep) and In the Labyrinth (Soho Rep). Read Playbill.com's recent interview with Gold and the recent Playbill magazine feature on him and his contemporaries.
Opening night is March 21 at Playwrights Horizons' intimate Peter Jay Sharp Theater on West 42nd Street. The limited engagement plays through April 8. The Mainstage is currently busy with the New York City premiere of the workplace comedy Assistance.
The Big Meal cast feature David Wilson Barnes (Becky Shaw, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Hamlet), Griffin Birney (Billy Elliot), Tom Bloom (Cyrano de Bergerac, Henry IV, Racing Demon), Tony Award nominee and Theatre World Award winner Anita Gillette (Chapter Two; All American, Love, Loss and What I Wore; "30 Rock"), Drama Desk nominee Jennifer Mudge (Dutchman, Oohrah!, The Philanthropist), Rachel Resheff (The People in the Picture, Mary Poppins, Shrek), Cameron Scoggins (Off-Broadway debut), Phoebe Strole (The Metal Children, Spring Awakening) and Molly Ward (Kin).
Here's how PH bills the new play, which was previously seen in Chicago: "Somewhere in America, in a typical suburban restaurant on a typical night, Sam and Nicole meet. And sparks fly, setting in motion an expansive tale that traverses five generations of a modern family, from first kiss to final goodbye. A stunning, big-hearted play that spans nearly 80 years in a single sitting, The Big Meal tells the extraordinary story of an ordinary family."
The Big Meal will feature scenic and costume design by David Zinn, lighting design by Mark Barton and sound design by Leah Gelpe. Production stage manager is Alaina Taylor.
LeFranc received the 2010 New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award for Sixty Miles to Silver Lake, premiered by Page 73 Productions and Soho Rep. His other plays include Origin Story, Bruise Easy, Night Surf, The Fishbone Fables, Backyard, Kill The Keepers and Catgut.
The Big Meal received its world premiere at American Theater Company in Chicago, where it earned five Jefferson Award nominations including Best Play and was named The Best Play of the Year by Time Out-Chicago. Awards include the Whitfield Cook Award, the John C. Russell Fellowship, a Djerassi Resident Artists Program Fellowship, a MacDowell Colony/Alpert Foundation Residency; and commissions from Yale Rep, Berkeley Rep, and American Theatre Company in Chicago.
The performance schedule for The Big Meal will be Tuesdays through Fridays at 7:30 PM, Saturdays at 2 & 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2 & 7PM, with an additional Monday evening performance on March 19 at 7:30 PM. Single tickets, $60, may be purchased online via www.TicketCentral.com, by phone at (212) 279-4200 (noon-8 PM daily), or in person at the Ticket Central Box Office, 416 West 42nd Street (between Ninth & Tenth Avenues).
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