Golden Age, Terrence McNally's Backstage Play of Musical Passion, Begins NYC Premiere
By Kenneth Jones
Manhattan Theatre Club's New York City premiere of Golden Age, four-time Tony Award winner Terrence McNally's play about the world of composer Vincenzo Bellini, begins previews Nov. 15, with Emmy Award nominee Lee Pace ("Pushing Daisies") as the 19th-century music man.
Performances play Off-Broadway at New York City Center – Stage I at 131 W. 55th Street. Opening night is Dec. 4. In the lead-up to the first preview, Tony winner Richard Easton (playing composer Rossini) was replaced by Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham.
Golden Age — seen earlier in separate productions in Philadelphia and Washington, DC — is directed by Tony winner Walter Bobbie (Chicago). The limited engagement also stars Dierdre Friel, Coco Monroe, two-time Emmy and two-time Tony Award winner Bebe Neuwirth, Ethan Phillips, Lorenzo Pisoni, Will Rogers and Eddie Kaye Thomas.
According to MTC, "Its opening night of Vincenzo Bellini's new opera I Puritani in Paris, and the Italian composer is determined to win the adulation of not only his audience, but his colleagues and rivals as well. When the curtain falls, will a thunderous ovation cement his prominence? Or has Bellini unwittingly composed his own swan song? Blending 21st-century language with the timeless beauty of 19th-century bel canto opera, Terrence McNally's new play portrays the final act of an artist whose desire for greatness has eclipsed all else."
McNally, an opera maven whose plays Master Class and The Lisbon Traviata also touch on classical music, returns to one of his artistic homes for this production. MTC's Stage I was the site of many of his successes, including Lips Together, Teeth Apart.
The creative team includes Santo Loquasto (scenic design), Jane Greenwood (costume design), Peter Kaczorowski (lighting design), Ryan Rumery (sound design) and Tom Watson (hair & wig design).
McNally is a four-time Tony Award winner (Master Class, Ragtime, Love! Valour! Compassion!, Kiss of the Spider Woman). Neuwirth ("Cheers," Chicago, Sweet Charity) plays Maria Malibran, and Pisoni (Humor Abuse) plays Antonio Tamburini, two famous opera singers of the 19th century. Rogers and Thomas were in Bobbie's cast of the 2011 world premiere of The Submission Off-Broadway. Phillips was in Broadway's November and My Favorite Year. Friel appeared in Broadway's Leap of Faith.
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