Terry Kinney (Beautiful Child, "Oz") directed the New York premiere of the black comedy which began performances Feb. 11 and opened Feb. 28 at the downtown venue for a run originally set through March 20. The work was extended "in response to strong audience and critical support," according to a release.
In After Ashley, a 17-year-old boy deals with his complex and tumultuous relationships with his mother and father when a young girl enters his life. Originally commissioned by Philadelphia Theatre Company, the work then developed further at the 2003 O'Neill Playwrights Conference of the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center before becoming a breakout work at the 2004 Humana Festival of New American Plays.
Dana Eskelson ("Cold Creek Manor"), as the eponymous Ashley, and Mark Rosenthal (The Moonlight Room, Ah Wilderness!) also fill out the rest of the drama's ensemble.
Paquin appeared Off-Broadway last season in Paul Weitz's Roulette and MCC Theater's staging of Neil LaBute's The Distance From Here. She also starred for MCC in Rebecca Gilman's The Glory of Living — which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. The actress, known for her turns in the "X-Men" films, "The 25th Hour" and her Academy Award-winning performance in "The Piano," appeared on the London stage in Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth.
Culkin, known for his film turns in "Igby Goes Down" and "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys," appeared on stage in the MCC Theatre one-night benefit performance of Neil LaBute's Autobahn and James Lapine's The Moment When for Playwrights Horizons. He also appeared in the West End This Is Our Youth. Shaud is remembered by television audiences as Miles on "Murphy Brown." The actor has also been seen on stage in Writer's Block and Four Dogs and a Bone. Other credits include "From the Earth to the Moon," "Oliver Beene" and in voice on the film "Antz."
Hopper was last seen at the Vineyard in The Dying Gaul in 1998. He has appeared on Broadway in the 1996 revival of Present Laughter and Off Broadway in Endpapers, Carson McCullers (Historically Inaccurate) the title role in Picasso at the Lapine Agile as well as his Obie Award-winning turn in More Stately Mansions. The actor who has appeared on film in "The School of Rock," "To Die For" and "Frankie and Johnny" has previously worked with Kinney on the film "The Last of the Mohicans" and on television's "Oz."
Director Kinney staged the world premiere of Nicky Silver's Beautiful Child at the Vineyard last season. He also staged the recent revival of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest on Broadway and the Chicago premiere of Richard Greenberg's The Violet Hour. As an actor, he has performed on stage in The Grapes of Wrath and Buried Child as well as on screen in "Oz" and "The Laramie Project."
Gionfriddo's After Ashley was recently announced as a finalist for The Steinberg New Play Award. She is also the recipient of the 2001-2002 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the 2002 Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, a Lucille Lortel Fellowship and a Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowship. Her other plays include Safe, U.S. Drag, Guinevere and Briar Rose.
Tickets to After Ashley at the Vineyard Theatre, 108 East 15th Street, can be reserved by calling (212) 353-0303. For more information, visit www.vineyardtheatre.org