Christopher Durang Comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Could Be Broadway-Bound

By Adam Hetrick
January 4, 2013

Lincoln Center Theater's staging of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Christopher Durang's frothy Chekhov-inspired comedy that features Sigourney Weaver, Kristine Nielsen and David Hyde Pierce, may bring some satirical Russian cheer to Broadway.



A representative for LCT confirmed to Playbill.com that preliminary talks have taken place about a possible Broadway run for the Bucks County-set comedy. A future life for the production beyond its extended Off-Broadway run to Jan. 20 has still not been determined.

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 that opened Off-Broadway Nov. 12, 2012. 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.

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.

View the Entire Photo Gallery
Sigourney Weaver, Genevieve Angelson and David Hyde Pierce
Photo by T. Charles Erickson