Christopher Shinn Drama Now or Later, Starring Adriane Lenox and Tom Nelis, Opens in Boston Oct. 17
By Adam Hetrick
The American premiere of Christopher Shinn's political drama Now or Later, about a college party that sets off a religious and political firestorm, officially opens Oct. 17 at the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston. Tony Award winner Adriane Lenox and Tom Nelis star.
Michael Wilson, who directed The Best Man on Broadway this past season, stages the drama that debuted in 2009 at the Royal Court in London. The play, in which two men are photographed dressed as the prophet Muhammad and another as a Christian pastor, takes on a timely context with the recent attacks on the U.S. embassy in Libya following outcry over an anti-Islam film trailer. Previews began Oct. 12, with performances scheduled through Nov. 10.
Lenox (Doubt), Nelis (Enron) and Goldsmith (Clybourne Park in London) are joined by Ryan King (Eurydice), Alexandra Neil (Match, Rock 'n' Roll) and Grant MacDermott (Mr. Roberts).
According to the Huntington, "The play takes place in real time in a hotel room on election night as the returns are being announced. The gay son of the favored presidential candidate sends his father's team into crisis mode when controversial photos of him at a college party dressed as the prophet Muhammad and accompanied by a friend dressed as the ultra-conservative 'Pastor Bob' spread over the internet, potentially sparking an international incident. Quickly, the son must wrestle to explain his motives and personal beliefs about freedoms of religion and expression to members of his father's campaign team, his mother, and ultimately his father."
Nelis portrays the presidential candidate, with MacDermott as his son.
"I am so thrilled to be directing Chris's play at this moment," Wilson said in an earlier statement, "as it directly explores how Americans defend a core principle — freedom of expression — in the face of violence sparked by the mockery of another society's faith. As we begin rehearsals, I am profoundly struck by the recent tragic events in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen sparked by ridicule of Muhammad. The incendiary event of this play is perceived similarly — only the perpetrator in Now or Later is the son of the President-elect. Chris'play puts these events in a fuller context, affording our audience the opportunity to explore more fully what is at stake in these complex clashes of culture, government, and faith."
Obie winner Shinn's plays include Picked, Dying City, On the Mountain, Four, What Didn't Happen and the 2009 Broadway adaptation of Hedda Gabler.
Now or Later has scenic design by Jeff Cowie, costume design by David C. Woolard, lighting design by Russell H. Champa, sound design and original composition by David Remedios.
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