Picnic Rolls Up Its Broadway Blanket Feb. 24
By Kenneth Jones
Roundabout Theatre Company's limited-engagement production of Picnic, William Inge's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama of small-town women yearning for what's beyond, ends on schedule Feb. 24 after playing 49 regular performances at the American Airlines Theatre. Mare Winningham, Elizabeth Marvel, Ellen Burstyn, Maggie Grace and Madeleine Martin star as some of the locals aroused by the arrival of a sexy stranger.
Directed by Sam Gold, the production began previews Dec. 14, 2012, and opened Jan. 13.
The cast features Reed Birney as middle-aged shopkeeper Howard Bevans, Maggie Grace as ready-to-blossom Madge Owens, Elizabeth Marvel as marriage-hungry schoolteacher Rosemary Sydney, Sebastian Stan as shirtless Hal Carter (the drifter who stirs up urges), Mare Winningham as single mother Flo Owens and Ellen Burstyn as neighbor Helen Potts, with Madeleine Martin (tomboy sister Millie Owens), Ben Rappaport (Alan Seymour, Madge's college-boy suitor), Cassie Beck (as teacher Christine Schoenwalde), Maddie Corman (teacher Irma Kronkite) and Chris Perfetti (teen paperboy Bomber).
"Sensual, passionate and delightfully funny," Picnic, according to the Roundabout, is a "timeless American classic about the line between restraint and desire. It's a balmy Labor Day in the American Heartland, and a group of women are preparing for a picnic... but they'll have to lay a lot on the line before they can lay out the checkered cloths. When a handsome young drifter named Hal (Stan) arrives, his combination of uncouth manners and titillating charm sends the women reeling, especially the beautiful Madge (Grace). When Hal is forced out of town, Madge must decide whether their fleeting encounter is worth changing the course of her life."
Stan made his Broadway debut in Talk Radio. He played Bucky, the sidekick, in the film "Captain America: The First Avenger" and will appear in its 2014 sequel. (Read the recent Playbill Leading Men interview with him.) Grace made her Broadway debut in this production. She might be best known for playing Shannon, Boone's sister, on the TV series "Lost." Winningham starred in Off-Broadway's Tribes recently. Burstyn is a Tony Award winner for Same Time, Next Year. She won the Best Actress Academy Award for "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore." Rappaport, recently of TV's "Outsourced," is making his Broadway debut. Corman starrred in Next Fall on and off Broadway. Beck recently appeared in Off-Broadway's The Whale.
The creative team included Andrew Lieberman (sets), David Zinn (costumes), Jane Cox (lights), Jill BC Du Boff (sound) and Chase Brock (choreography).
Picnic premiered on Broadway in 1953 and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. Roundabout Theatre Company has a long history with William Inge, having produced the last Broadway production of Picnic (1994), Come Back, Little Sheba (1983) and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1979).
Sam Gold is a resident director at Roundabout Theatre Company where his recent work includes Look Back in Anger (2012) and Tigers Be Still (2010). Reed Birney returns to Roundabout following his award-winning performances at Roundabout Underground in Tigers Be Still (2010) and The Dream of the Burning Boy (2011).
Lizbeth Mackay plays the off-stage voice of Helen Potts' mother, and serves as an understudy. Elizabeth Marvel was featured in the Off-Broadway Roundabout production of Misalliance in 1997. Madeleine Martin was last seen at Roundabout and the American Airlines Theatre in A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (2003), and Chris Perfetti was in the cast of last season's award-winning premiere of Sons of the Prophet (2011).
For tickets and information, call (212) 719-1300 or visit roundabouttheatre.org.
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