12 Jan 2013
Reed Birney returns to Broadway for the first time in three decades in Picnic, opening Jan. 13. In celebration, the Playbill Vault looks back on his 1977 debut in Gemini.
Albert Innaurato's play made its New York City premiere Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons and later transferred to Broadway's Little Theatre (now the Helen Hayes).
Reed Birney was 22 years old when the show opened on May 21, 1977. The original cast included Jonathan Hadary, who is currently featured in LCT's Golden Boy, and Danny Aiello. Jeff Daniels made his Broadway debut as an uncredited assistant stage manager and understudy for Birney and Hadary.
Gemini received warm reviews (Clive Barnes of the New York Times deemed it "an immensely likable little play"), though the production and its cast were overlooked in the awards season. However, the show went on to enjoy a four-year Broadway run, a rare feat for a non-musical.
Holed up in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert, two former lovers unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart. Led by director Daniel Aukin (Back Back Back at MTC, 4,000 Miles), Tony winner Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur at MTC, Born Yesterday) and Sam Rockwell (A Behanding in Spokane, The Way Way Back) bring an explosive intensity to Sam Shepard’s (Buried Child, True West) landmark myth of the new Wild West.