A Question of Mercy, the new play by David Rabe -- who has won some of American theatre's top honors for probing some of the sorest spots in the national psyche -- opened Feb. 25 Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop. Due to ticket demand, the drama was extended past its March 16 closing date to March 30, but will now definitely close on that date. According to spokesperson Don Summa, the production will not have a commercial transfer, but the play is expected to be quite active regionally.
Mercy stars Zach Grenier, who has appeared in Valiant Theatre Company's recent revival of Rhinoceros, and features Tony winner Stephen Spinella, plus Veanne Cox, Juan Carlos Hernandez, Michael Kell, Doc Dougherty, and Christopher Burns. The production is directed by Douglas Hughes, who helmed last summer's Public Theater production of Henry V starring Andre Braugher. Hughes was recently appointed Artistic Director of the Long Wharf Theatre.
Rabe won the 1972 Tony Award for Sticks and Bones, an examination of the effect a blinded Vietnam veteran has when he returns home to his middle-American family.
Based on an essay by Richard Selzer, A Question of Mercy centers on a retired doctor (Grenier) drawn into advising on the assisted suicide of a young man dying of AIDS (Hernandez). Spinella plays the man's lover, while Cox is the couple's close friend. Fisher Stevens and Anabella Sciorra participated in play's initial reading at Lincoln Center in April 1996, with a subsequent reading conducted at NYTW in early fall. Rabe's plays include Hurlyburly, a Hollywood tale that boasted an all-star cast on Broadway, and Streamers, set in an Air Force barracks. His previous play, Those the River Keeps starring Paul Guilfoyle and Annabella Sciorra, had a brief run Off-Broadway in early 1994.
For tickets, call (212) 460-5475.
-- By Andrew Ku