"Friday Night Lights," "The Wire" and "NYPD Blue" Stars Cast in Flea's Lower Ninth

News   "Friday Night Lights," "The Wire" and "NYPD Blue" Stars Cast in Flea's Lower Ninth
Television stars Gaius Charles, Gbenga Akkinagbe and James McDaniel will star in the upcoming Hurricane Katrina-based drama Lower Ninth at New York City's Flea Theater.

Daniel Goldstein will direct the new Beau Willimon work, which is slated to begin previews Feb. 14 and officially open Feb. 28 for a run at the downtown Manhattan venue through April 5.

The cast features Gaius Charles (known for his turn as Brian "Smash" Williams on "Friday Night Lights"), Gbenga Akkinagbe (Chris Partlow on "The Wire") and James McDaniel ("NYPD Blue" lieutenant Arthur Fancy) — the latter also appeared Off-Broadway in A Soldier's Play and Six Degrees of Separation.

"Lower Ninth is about two men stranded on a roof after a terrible storm," according to show notes. "As Malcom and E-Z struggle to survive, they must battle heat, hunger and their pasts. Ultimately, their only hope for salvation rests with each other."

The work was previously seen as part of the 2007 Summer Play Festival, also under the direction of Goldstein. Willimon's Farragut North has been optioned for Broadway and is reportedly in the works as a film to possibly star Leonardo DiCaprio.

Goldstein is slated to direct the Broadway transfer of Godspell, which he previously directed at the Paper Mill Playhouse. He will also stage Sinan Unel's The Cry of the Reed at Huntington Theatre Company. He has served as the associate director for All Shook Up! and Fully Committed and was the resident director for the first national tour of Mamma Mia! The Flea currently presents Will Eno's recently extended Oh, the Humanity and Other Exclamations (through Feb. 2). Next up will be a revival of Peter Handke's Offending the Audience staged by artistic director Jim Simpson (Jan. 21-Feb. 23).

Tickets to Lower Ninth at The Flea Theater, 41 White Street (between Broadway and Church St.), are available by calling (212) 352-3101 or by visiting theflea.org.

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