PHOTO CALL: The Columnist Opens On Broadway; Red Carpet Arrivals, Curtain Call and Cast Party
By Matthew Blank
The Columnist, David Auburn's character study about the complexities and contradictions in the life and work of the late political journalist Joseph Alsop, opened in its Broadway world premiere April 25 following previews from April 4. Two-time Tony Award winner John Lithgow plays the powerful writer in this fictionalized biography.
The staging is produced by Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. MTC launched the premiere of Auburn's Proof Off-Broadway. The play transferred to Broadway, won the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award, toured and became a film. Daniel Sullivan, who won the 2001 Tony for directing Proof, again shepherds Auburn's play.
MTC bills the new work this way: "Columnists are kings in mid-century America and Joseph Alsop (Tony and Emmy Award winner John Lithgow) wears the crown. Joe is beloved, feared and courted in equal measure by the Washington political world at whose center he sits. But as the '60s dawn and America undergoes dizzying change, the intense political drama Joe is embroiled in becomes deeply personal as well."
Lithgow won the Best Actor (Musical) Tony for playing a fictional gossip and celebrity columnist, JJ Hunsecker, in Sweet Smell of Success in 2002. He won his first Tony (as Best Featured Actor in a Play) for his Broadway debut in The Changing Room in 1973. Lithgow was the star of TV's "Third Rock From the Sun" and played a memorable guest criminal in the TV series "Dexter." Read more about Lithgow's Broadway career in the Playbill Vault.
The company of The Columnist also includes Tony Award nominee Stephen Kunken (Enron, Frost/Nixon, Rock 'n' Roll) as liberal journalist David Halberstam; Grace Gummer (Arcadia, "Smash") as Alsop's stepdaughter, Abigail; Brian J. Smith (Come Back, Little Sheba) as Andrei, a young Russian man; Margaret Colin (Arcadia, MTC's Defiance) as wife Susan Alsop; four-time Tony winner Boyd Gaines (Gypsy, She Loves Me, Contact) as brother and co-columnist Stewart Alsop; and Marc Bonan (making his Broadway debut) as Abigail's boyfriend. The action takes place in the 1960s. It opens in a Moscow hotel room, where Alsop has just enjoyed a liaison with a young Russian man.
The limited engagement plays to June 24 (representing a one-week extension) at MTC's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on West 47th Street.
JJ Hunsecker of Sweet Smell of Success and Joseph Alsop were both newspaper columnists, but that's where comparisons end, Auburn and Lithgow told Playbill.com.
The creative team includes John Lee Beatty (scenic design), Jess Goldstein (costume design), Kenneth Posner (lighting design), John Gromada (original music & sound design), Rocco DiSanti (projection design), and Charles G. LaPointe (hair and wig design).
The Columnist was developed with the support of Tennessee Repertory Theatre through its Ingram New Works Fellowship and Residency. The Columnist is a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award.
Ticket prices are $67-$121. 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 W. 47th Street).
For more information on MTC, visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com
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