The American premiere of Kia Corthron's Breath, Boom, first seen at London's Royal Court Theatre, gets a one-week extension to July 1 at Playwrights Horizons' Studio Theater before the venue gets torn down.
The May 31-June 24 run got an extra week tagged-on following good reviews. The staging is the final work to be seen at Playwrights Horizons' old digs on 42nd Street. A section of the block is being demolished for a modern development on the west end of the famed Manhattan street. A new PH complex — a mainstage, studio theatre, administrative offices and rehearsal space — will be built on the same site, to be ready for the 2002-2003 season, a spokesman said. The 2001-2002 season will be presented in several Off-Broadway venues to be announced. The Spitfire Grill, a new musical, opens the fall season at the lauded non-profit.
Marion McClinton (who is helming King Hedley II and staged Off-Broadway's Jitney) directs Breath, Boom, the new work by the author of Force Continuum. Official opening at the nonprofit Manhattan theatre's second stage, on 42nd Street, is June 10.
Breath, Boom is a "powerful, coming-of-age tale that follows 14 years in the life of Prix, a girl-gang leader trying to control her life amidst the chaos of the inner-city," according to a statement. "Beginning in the mid-80's, the play is a chronicle of Prix's journey from a bleak home life to prison and back again, as well as her relationships with her mother, peers and, most importantly, herself." Director Marion McClinton, a 2001 Tony Award nominee for his direction of King Hedley II, told Playbill On Line:"King Hedley II is on one end of the spectrum, this is on the other end. The studio is a 200-seat house. I've worked with [Kia Corthron] before. It's going very good. We've got a very strong cast and it's a beautiful piece. It's also giving me something to do so I don't get caught up in the Tony madness too much."
The cast includes Russell Andrews (Jitney), Pascale Armand (Yellow Eyes at Crossroads Theatre Company), Dena Atlantic (Fires in the Mirror at Rutgers), Kalimi A. Baxter (And the World Laugh with You at Crossroads), Caroline Stefanie Clay (Force Continuum), Rosalyn Coleman (Seven Guitars, The Piano Lesson and Mule Bone on Broadway), Donna Duplantier (Time Square Motel at LaMama), Yvette Ganier (King Hedley II, Jitney), Abigail Lopez (Manhattan Theatre Club's An Experiment with an Air Pump) and Heather Alicia Simms (Corthron's Splash Hatch on the E Going Down).
Corthron's plays include Force Continuum, Up, Splash Hatch on the E Going Down, Digging Eleven, Seeking the Genesis (1996 Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award), Life by Asphyxiation (produced by Playwrights Horizons), Wake Up Lou Riser (1994 Delaware Theatre Company's first Connections Contest), Catnap Allegiance, Cage Rhythm (1993 New Professional Theatre Playwriting Award), Come Down Burning (1994 Young Playwrights Inc.'s Joe A. Callaway Playwriting Award) and one of the plays in Urban Zulu Mambo, which played this past season at Signature Theatre Company in Manhattan.
Designers are Michael Philippi (set and lighting), Katherine Roth (costume) and Ken Travis (sound).
Tickets to Breath, Boom are $25. Student rush tickets are $10. Performances play Tuesday-Sunday. Playwrights Horizons' second-floor Studio Theater is at 416 West 42nd Street. Call (212) 279-4200 for information.
— By Kenneth Jones