From Grace to I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers, A Look at the 2012-13 Season: The Plays
By Playbill Staff
April 12, 2013
With the 2012-13 Broadway season coming to a close this month (April 25 is the cut-off date for eligibility for the 67th Annual Tony Awards), Playbill.com offers a four-part look at the current season. Here are this season's original plays.
From Craig Wright's darkly comic drama Grace, which featured a four-person cast led by Paul Rudd, to Bette Midler's return to Broadway in the new John Logan solo show I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers, the final play of the season, here is an overview of the 14 original plays that have opened or will open in time for the 2013 Tonys, which will take place June 9 at Radio City Music Hall.
Show: Grace Theatre: Cort Theatre Preview: Sept. 13, 2012 Opening: Oct. 4, 2012 Closing: Jan. 6, 2013 Creators: Written by Craig Wright. Direction by Dexter Bullard. Original Principal Cast: Paul Rudd as Steve, Michael Shannon as Sam, Kate Arrington as Sara and Ed Asner as Karl. Synopsis: The play is described as such: "In alternating scenes of hilarity and poignancy, life turns surreal for an eclectic foursome whose destinies collide in the Sunshine State. A wide-eyed young couple (Rudd and Arrington) head south with big plans to open a chain of Gospel-themed motels. When an agitated rocket scientist (Shannon) and a prickly pest-control man (Asner) enter the picture, the couple's ordered world is thrown into utter chaos."
Watch Playbill Video's highlights of the production:
Show: The Performers Theatre: Longacre Theatre Preview: Oct. 23, 2012 Opening: Nov. 14, 2012 Closing: Nov. 18, 2012 Creators: Written by David West Read. Direction by Evan Cabnet. Original Principal Cast: Cheyenne Jackson as Mandrew, Ari Graynor as Peeps, Daniel Breaker as Lee, Jenni Barber as Sundown LeMay, Alicia Silverstone as Sara and Henry Winkler as Chuck Wood. Synopsis: The Performers, according to press notes, "is a romantic comedy about two high school friends (Jackson and Breaker) — and the women in their lives (Graynor and Silverstone, respectively) — who reconnect at the Adult Film Awards in Las Vegas. When the night takes an unexpected turn and relationships are threatened, Chuck Wood (Winkler), the hardest-working man in the business, steps in to lend a hand. Sex, love and Barry Manilow intersect in this comedy about the ups and downs and ins and outs of love."
Show: Dead Accounts Theatre: Music Box Theatre Preview: Nov. 5, 2012 Opening: Nov. 29, 2012 Closing: Jan. 6, 2013 Creators: Written by Theresa Rebeck. Direction by Jack O'Brien. Original Principal Cast: Norbert Leo Butz as Jack, Katie Holmes as Lorna, Judy Greer as Jenny, Josh Hamilton as Phil and Jayne Houdyshell as Barbara. Synopsis: Here's how the play is billed: "Jack's unexpected return throws his family into a frenzy, and his sister Lorna needs answers. Is he coming home or running away? Where is his wife everyone hates? And how did he get all that money? Theresa Rebeck's new comedy tackles the timely issues of corporate greed, small town values, and whether or not your family will always welcome you back… with no questions asked."
Watch Playbill Video's interviews with Butz and Holmes:
Show: The Anarchist Theatre: John Golden Theatre Preview: Nov. 13, 2012 Opening: Dec. 2, 2012 Closing: Dec. 16, 2012 Creators: Written and directed by David Mamet. Original Principal Cast: Patti LuPone as Cathy and Debra Winger as Ann. Synopsis: In The Anarchist, according to producers, "LuPone play[ed] the title character and Winger play[ed] a prison official. These actresses make theatrical fireworks as one character, put away for life, wants out while the other wants to make sure she stays inside. This explosive new work by Mamet is about passion, redemption, deception, and revolution."
Watch Playbill Video's footage from press day for The Anarchist:
Show: The Other Place Theatre: Samuel J. Friedman Theatre Preview: Dec. 11, 2012 Opening: Jan. 10, 2013 Closing: March 3, 2013 Creators: Written by Sharr White. Direction by Joe Mantello. Original Principal Cast: Laurie Metcalf as Juliana, Daniel Stern as Ian, Zoe Perry as The Woman and John Schiappa as The Man. Synopsis: In the play, which is billed as a thriller, Metcalf played Juliana Smithton, "a successful neurologist whose life seems to be coming unhinged," according to Manhattan Theatre Club. "Her husband (Daniel Stern) has filed for divorce, her daughter (Zoe Perry) has eloped with a much older man (John Schiappa) and her own health is in jeopardy. But in this brilliantly crafted work, nothing is as it seems. Piece by piece, a mystery unfolds as fact blurs with fiction, past collides with present and the elusive truth about Juliana boils to the surface."
Watch Playbill Video's highlights from the production:
Show: Ann Theatre: Vivian Beaumont Theater Preview: Feb. 18, 2013 Opening: March 7, 2013 Closing: Sept. 1, 2013 Creators: Written by Holland Taylor. Direction by Benjamin Endsley Klein. Original Principal Cast: Holland Taylor as Ann Richards and Julie White as the Voice of Nancy Kohler. Synopsis: Here's how Ann is characterized: "Holland Taylor steps into the shoes of Ann Richards, the impassioned Governor of Texas who dedicated her life to empowering, expanding and enriching the lives of her constituents, friends and family. Ann is an inspiring and hilarious new play that brings you face to face with a complex, colorful and captivating character bigger than the state from which she hailed. Taylor takes the audience on a journey, neither political nor a history lesson, swirling together the past and present to reunite Ann Richards with old friends and introduce her to a new generation."
Watch Playbill Video's highlights from the production:
Show: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Theatre: John Golden Theatre Preview: March 5, 2013 Opening: March 14, 2013 Closing: Open-ended Creators: Written by Christopher Durang. Direction by Nicholas Martin. Original Principal Cast: Sigourney Weaver as Masha, David Hyde Pierce as Vanya, Kristine Nielsen as Sonia, Billy Magnussen as Spike, Shalita Grant as Cassandra and Genevieve Angelson as Nina. Synopsis: Here's how the play is billed: "Riffing on some of Anton Chekov's most time-tested themes, Christopher Durang proves in his hysterically funny and surprisingly affecting new romp, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, that whether you're in 19th Century Russia or 21st Century Pennsylvania, the human condition never changes. Vanya (Pierce) and Sonia (Nielsen) have never left the confines of their childhood home – a rambling farmhouse in Bucks County, PA – while having to witness the glamorous exploits of their sister, Masha (Weaver), a famous movie actress, from afar. A surprise visit from Masha and her 20-something boy toy, Spike (Magnussen), throws the normally quiet household int0 utter upheaval as its residents and visitors get swept up in an intoxicating mixture of lust, rivalry, regret, and the sudden possibility of escape. Only one thing is certain: no one will get out of this without looking absolutely ridiculous!"
Watch Playbill Video's highlights from the production:
Show: Breakfast at Tiffany's Theatre: Cort Theatre Preview: March 4, 2013 Opening: March 20, 2013 Closing: Open-ended Creators: Written by Richard Greenberg. Direction by Sean Mathias. Original Principal Cast: Emilia Clarke as Holly Golightly, Cory Michael Smith as Fred and George Wendt as Joe Bell. Synopsis: Like the book, the play by Greenberg is set in New York City in 1943. In it, "Fred (played by Smith), a young writer from Louisiana, meets Holly Golightly (Clarke), a charming, vivacious and utterly elusive good-time girl. Everyone falls in love with Holly — including Fred. But Fred is poor, and Holly's other suitors include a playboy millionaire and the future president of Brazil. As war rages on in Europe, Holly begins to fall in love with Fred — just as her past catches up with her."
Show: Lucky Guy Theatre: Broadhurst Theatre Preview: March 1, 2013 Opening: April 1, 2013 Closing: June 16, 2013 Creators: Written by Nora Ephron. Direction by George C. Wolfe. Original Principal Cast: Tom Hanks as Mike McAlary, Maura Tierney as Alice McAlary, Christopher McDonald as Eddie Hayes, Peter Gerety as John Cotter, Courtney B. Vance as Hap Hairston, Peter Scolari as Michael Daly and Richard Masur as Jerry Nachman/Stanley Joyce. Synopsis: Lucky Guy is characterized as "a new play about the scandal- and graffiti-ridden New York of the 1980s, as told through the story of the charismatic and controversial tabloid columnist Mike McAlary. From his sensational reporting of New York's major police corruption to the libel suit that nearly ended his career, the play dramatizes the story of McAlary's meteoric rise, fall and rise again, ending with his coverage of the Abner Louima case for which he won the Pulitzer Prize, shortly before his untimely death on Christmas Day, 1998."
Show: The Nance Theatre: Lyceum Theatre Preview: March 21, 2013 Opening: April 15, 2013 Closing: June 16, 2013 Creators: Written by Douglas Carter Beane. Direction by Jack O'Brien. Original Principal Cast: Nathan Lane as Chauncey, Jenni Barber as Joan, Andréa Burns as Carmen, Cady Huffman as Sylvie, Jonny Orsini as Ned and Lewis J. Stadlen as Efram. Synopsis: According to Lincoln Center Theater, "A nance, according to Webster's Dictionary, is 'an effeminate or homosexual man.' In the world of 1930s burlesque, a nance was a wildly popular character, a stereotypically camp homosexual man, most times played by a straight performer. In The Nance, playwright Douglas Carter Beane tells the story of Chauncey Miles, a headline nance performer in New York burlesque, who also happens to be a homosexual. Integrating burlesque sketches into his drama, Beane paints, with humor and pathos, the portrait of a homosexual man, living and working in the secretive and dangerous gay world of 1930s New York, whose outrageous antics on the burlesque stage stand in marked contrast to his messy offstage life."
Show: The Assembled Parties Theatre: Samuel J. Friedman Theatre Preview: March 21, 2013 Opening: April 17, 2013 Closing: Open-ended Creators: Written by Richard Greenberg. Direction by Lynne Meadow. Original Principal Cast: Jessica Hecht as Julie, Judith Light as Faye, Jeremy Shamos as Jeff, Mark Blum as Mort, Lauren Blumenfeld as Shelley, Alex Dreier as Timmy, Jake Silbermann as Scotty/Tim and Jonathan Walker as Ben. Synopsis: According to Manhattan Theatre Club, "The Assembled Parties welcomes us to the world of the Bascovs, an Upper West Side Jewish family in 1980. In a sprawling Central Park West apartment, former movie star Julie Bascov (Hecht) and her sister-in-law Faye (Light) bring their families together for their traditional holiday dinner. But tonight, things are not usual. A house guest (Shamos) has joined the festivities for the first time and he unwittingly — or perhaps by design — insinuates himself into the family drama. Twenty years later, as 2001 approaches, the Bascovs' seemingly picture-perfect life may be about to crumble. A stunning new play infused with humor, [it's] an incisive portrait of a family grasping for stability at the dawn of a new millennium."
Show: Orphans Theatre: Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre Preview: March 26, 2013 Opening: April 18, 2013 Closing: June 30, 2013 Creators: Written by Lyle Kessler. Direction by Daniel Sullivan. Original Principal Cast: Alec Baldwin as Harold, Ben Foster as Treat and Tom Sturridge as Phillip. Synopsis: In the play, according to press notes, "two orphaned brothers are living in a decrepit North Philadelphia row house. Treat (Foster), the eldest, supports his damaged younger sibling Phillip (Sturridge) by petty thievery, and makes the house a virtual prison for the seemingly simple-minded Phillip. One night he kidnaps a rich older man, Harold (Baldwin), who turns out to have his own motives and becomes the father figure the boys have always yearned for."
Show: The Testament of Mary Theatre: Walter Kerr Theatre Preview: March 26, 2013 Opening: April 22, 2013 Closing: June 16, 2013 Creators: Written by Colm Tóibín. Direction by Deborah Warner. Original Principal Cast: Fiona Shaw as Mary. Synopsis: According to producers, "The Testament of Mary takes place after the Crucifixion. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is in the city of Ephesus where she is both guarded and protected. As two of her son's followers set about giving shape to Jesus' story, Mary tells her own story — the one which has not been heard."
Show: I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers Theatre: Booth Theatre Preview: April 5, 2013 Opening: April 24, 2013 Closing: June 30, 2013 Creators: Written by John Logan. Direction by Joe Mantello. Original Principal Cast: Bette Midler as Sue Mengers. Synopsis: "Sue Mengers was an American original," according to production notes. "She was the first female 'superagent' at a time when women talent agents of any kind were almost unheard of. She came from near poverty, a refugee from Hitler's Germany, and worked her way up through pluck, charm, and a legendary wit. In that uniquely American way, she invented herself; and when the career she wanted didn't exist, she invented that as well: 'Superagent.' It was a term Hollywood all but coined for her. By the 1970s, she represented almost every major star in Hollywood and went on to become the town's most renowned hostess."