Birth of a Salesman: Buicks with Norbert Leo Butz Begins Off-Broadway, Feb. 28

By Ernio Hernandez
February 27, 2003

Norbert Leo Butz will head up the cast in the world premiere of Julian Sheppard's new play Buicks to play Off-Broadway's McGinn/Cazale Theatre, Feb. 28-March 30. Brian Kulick directs the limited engagement for The Underwood Theater which opens March 9.

In Buicks, Butz plays a 36-year-old car salesman from Fresno, California who lives a pretty humdrum life until the day his wife, unhappy with where her marriage has gone, up and leaves town with his kids. Sparked into action, the salesman sets off on a quest to get them back.

Also in the cast are Olivia Birkelund (Servicemen, Hotel Universe), Lucia Brawley (A Winter's Tale, The Foundling) and Bill Buell (Urinetown, 42nd Street, Titanic).

The design team includes sets by Walt Spangler (Hollywood Arms, Boston Marriage), costumes by Linda Ross (Franny's Way, Sightseeing), lighting by Michael Chybowski (Wit, Letter from Ethel Kennedy) and sound by Darron L. West (Wait Until Dark, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told).

Butz was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in Thou Shalt Not. His other credits include Rent, The Last 5 Years, Saved as well as Juno and the Paycock.

Kulick recently served as the Public Theater/NYSF artistic associate where he directed such productions as Twelfth Night, Pericles, A Winter's Tale, Kit Marlowe, Timon of Athens and Tony Kushner's A Dybbuck.  Other directorial credits include Adam Baum and the Jew Movie and The Wax.

Playwright Sheppard's other works include Love and Happiness, Los Angeles, Whatever and From Now On. He has been a finalist for the Actors Theatre of Louisville's Heidemann Award three times.  He served as head writer on ESPN's "2-Minute Drill."

The newly formed Underwood Theater was founded in 2002 by Mandy Hackett and Ian McGloin. The company which is exclusively dedicated to supporting new work by emerging playwrights has an advisory board of playwrights including Moises Kaufman, Tony Kushner, James Lapine, Theresa Rebeck and Doug Wright. For more information on the company, visit www.underwoodtheater.org.

Tickets to Buicks at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre, 2162 Broadway (at 76th Street above the Promenade) may be purchased through SmartTix at (212) 206-1515 or online www.smarttix.com.