A Longer Weekend in the Country: Christopher Durang Comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Extends LCT Run

By Adam Hetrick
December 5, 2012

Christopher Durang's frothy Chekhov-inspired comedy, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, starring Sigourney Weaver, Kristine Nielsen and David Hyde Pierce, has extended its Off-Broadway run an additional week of performances through Jan. 20, 2013, at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater.



Nicholas Martin, who also helmed Durang's Why Torture Is Wrong and Betty's Summer Vacation, directs the production that had its world premiere at the McCarter Theatre Center in New Jersey earlier this fall, prior to its New York run.

Critics and audiences responded warmly to the farce that whips characters from the Russian playwright's catalogue into a weekend of costumes, prophecies and existential longing. It opened Off-Broadway Nov. 12 and has now extended past its original closing date of Jan. 13, 2013. 

The cast features three-time Oscar nominee Weaver ("Working Girl" "Alien"), a veteran of Durang's Sex and Longing, Crazy Mary, Beyond Therapy; as well as fellow Durang favorite, Obie Award winner Nielsen, who appeared in Betty’s Summer Vacation and Why Torture Is Wrong and The People Who Love Them.

Also starring are Tony and Emmy Award winner Pierce (Curtains, Spamalot, "Frasier"), Genevieve Angelson ("Army Wives"), Shalita Grant (The Merchant of Venice at Shakespeare in the Park) and Billy Magnussen (The Ritz, "Boardwalk Empire").

"My play is not a Chekhov parody," Durang told Playbill in a recent interview.  "I've been saying that I take Chekhov scenes and characters and put them into a blender. It's my hope you don't have to know Chekhov super-well to enjoy it." Read more here.

Here's how LCT bills the modern-day, Bucks County, PA-set play: "Vanya (Pierce) and his stepsister Sonia (Nielsen) have lived their entire lives in their family’s farmhouse. While they stayed home to take care of their ailing parents, their sister Masha (Weaver) has been gallivanting around the world as a successful actress and movie star, leaving Vanya and Sonia to feel trapped and regretful. Their soothsayer/cleaning woman Cassandra (Grant) keeps warning them about terrible things in the future, which include a sudden visit from Masha and her twenty-something boy toy Spike (Magnussen)."

The creative team also includes set designer David Korins, costume designer Emily Rebholz, lighting designer Justin Townsend, composer of original music and sound designer Mark Bennett.

The play is produced by Lincoln Center Theater in association with the McCarter Theatre, where it was commissioned.

Durang's plays include A History of the American Film (Tony nomination), Sister Mary Explains It All For You (Obie Award), Beyond Therapy, Baby With The Bathwater, The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Obie Award and Guild Hull Warriner Award), Sex and Longing, Laughing Wild, Betty's Summer Vacation (Obie Award), Miss Witherspoon (produced by McCarter Theatre Center, 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist) and, most recently, Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them.

For tickets visit LincolnCenterTheater.

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Sigourney Weaver, Genevieve Angelson and David Hyde Pierce
Photo by T. Charles Erickson