MTC Extends The Explorers Club and Choir Boy Off-Broadway
By Carey Purcell
Manhattan Theatre Club announced extensions of The Explorers Club and Choir Boy, both of which currently play its Off-Broadway space at City Center.
The Explorers Club has been extended by two weeks. Tickets are on sale through Aug. 4. The play opened Off-Broadway June 20 following previews that began May 28.
The cast includes Tony nominee Jennifer Westfeldt ("Kissing Jessica Stein," Wonderful Town), Tony nominee John McMartin (Grey Gardens, Follies), Lorenzo Pisoni (Equus, Humor Abuse), Brian Avers (Rock 'n' Roll), Max Baker (Cyrano DeBergerac), Steven Boyer (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), Arnie Burton (Peter and the Starcatcher), Carson Elrod (All in the Timing) and David Furr (The Importance of Being Earnest).
Here's how it's billed: "London, 1879. The prestigious Explorers Club is in crisis: their acting president (Pisoni) wants to admit a woman (Westfeldt), and their bartender is terrible. True, this female candidate is brilliant, beautiful, and has discovered a legendary Lost City, but the decision to let in a woman could shake the very foundation of the British Empire, and how do you make such a decision without a decent drink? Grab your safety goggles for some very mad science involving deadly cobras, irate Irishmen and the occasional airship."
Marc Bruni, who directed the recent Encores! concerts of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Pipe Dream and Harold Rome's Fanny, as well as Off-Broadway's Ordinary Days and Old Jews Telling Jokes, stages the comedy.
The creative team includes Tony winner Donyale Werle (scenic design), Anita Yavich (costume design), Philip S. Rosenberg (lighting design), Tony winner Darron L West (sound design), Tony nominee Laurence O'Keefe (original music), Tom Watson (hair and wig design) and Angelina Avallone (makeup design).
The American premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney's Choir Boy, a play with gospel music, has been extended by two weeks. Performances will also run through Aug. 4.
Choir Boy opened July 2 following previews that began June 18.
Trip Cullman (Assistance; Murder Ballad; Lonely, I'm Not) directs a cast that includes Nicholas L. Ashe (The Lion King), Kyle Beltran (In The Heights), Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper (The Piano Lesson), Grantham Coleman (As You Like It), Austin Pendleton (Ivanov), Jeremy Pope (Little Shop of Horrors) and Wallace Smith (American Idiot).
Here's how MTC bills the play: "The Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys is dedicated to the creation of strong, ethical black men. Pharus (Jeremy Pope) wants nothing more than to take his rightful place as leader of the school's legendary gospel choir. Can he find his way inside the hallowed halls of this institution if he sings in his own key?"
The production team includes David Zinn (scenic and costume design), Peter Kaczorowski (lighting design), Fitz Patton (sound design) and Jason Michael Webb (music director).
Tickets are available via CityTix at (212) 581-1212, at nycitycenter.org, and at the New York City Center Box Office, 131 W. 55th Street.
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