After a Rave Review, Will NYC Debut of Ayckbourn's Private Fears Extend?

News   After a Rave Review, Will NYC Debut of Ayckbourn's Private Fears Extend?
The New York City premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's Private Fears in Public Places earned a rave from The New York Times after the June 14 opening, but the play's Manhattan life is limited.
Sarah Moyle in Private Fears in Public Places
Sarah Moyle in Private Fears in Public Places Photo by Tony Bartholomew

As part of the Brits Off Broadway festival introducing Manhattan audiences to contemporary plays from the U.K., Private Fears in Public Places features British actors who are here on limited work visas. Their visas expire July 3, when the festival ends.

"There is absolutely no way the show can extend," Karen Greco, a spokesperson for Brits Off Broadway at 59E59 Theaters, told "I think there is an assumption out there that a show that gets a review like that will extend, and that certainly is usually the case, but is impossible with this one. I just want to make sure potential ticket buyers are not waiting for an extension that never comes…"

Playwright-director Ayckbourn directed his play, a production of the British repertory company he runs in Scarborough, Yorkshire — the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

Private Fears in Public Places is the 67th play by the prolific playwright Ayckbourn. In it, "Six people with six very separate lives are strangely linked by circumstance. As their stories unfold, so do the complications of contemporary relationships. This is a tale of the misheard, the unspoken and the sadly misunderstood —vintage Ayckbourn."

One might guess that among seat-holders for the remainder of the run are producers and artistic directors looking to see if they might want to stage Private Fear themselves. The sitdown in New York marks the U.S. debut of Alan Ayckbourn's Yorkshire-based repertory company. Ayckbourn's plays include Relatively Speaking, Absurd Person Singular, The Norman Conquests, Just Between Ourselves, Bedroom Farce, A Chorus of Disapproval, Woman In Mind, Comic Potential, Things We Do For Love, House and Garden.

His trilogy, Damsels in Distress, with the original Scarborough cast, completed a West End run at the Duchess Theatre in 2003. The French production of Things We Do For Love received nine nominations and won Best Comedy in the 2004 Moliere Awards.

Ayckbourn's plays have been seen on Broadway and off. A revival of his Absurd Person Singular will be staged by Manhattan Theatre Club on Broadway in 2006. Lynne Meadow will direct.

59E59 Theaters is run by Elysabeth Kleinhans, artistic director, and Peter Tear, executive producer.

Private Fears previews began June 9 for a limited engagement through July 3. The performance schedule is Tuesday-Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 PM & 8 PM and Sunday at 3 PM and 7 PM. Single tickets are $45 and are available by calling Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or online at For more information on Brits Off Broadway, visit

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