Luckinbill Is Patriarch in Baitz's Political Thriller, Chinese Friends, Premiering April 30 in NYC

News   Luckinbill Is Patriarch in Baitz's Political Thriller, Chinese Friends, Premiering April 30 in NYC
Laurence Luckinbill, Tyler Francavilla, Will McCormack and Bess Wohl have been announced as the company for the Playwrights Horizons world premiere of Jon Robin Baitz's Chinese Friends, beginning April 30.
Laurence Luckinbill with Lucie Arnez
Laurence Luckinbill with Lucie Arnez

Robert Egan directs the play by the author of The Substance of Fire, A Fair Country, Ten Unknowns and Three Hotels. Opening is May 25 at PH's Off Broadway home on West 42nd Street in Manhattan. The first preview is a pay-what-you-can performance. Shows continue through June 6.

The title of the new political thriller "refers to the board game of the same name, also known as Reversi or Othello, derived from the ancient Chinese game, Go," according to production notes. "In this vein, the play features a game of cagey one-upsmanship that ensues when a young man (Francavilla) and two friends (McCormack and Wohl) track down his long-estranged father (Luckinbill), a politico in exile, to demand the truth about their past. Deep-seated personal and political secrets become tactical set-pieces, complicating conflicting desires for revenge and rehabilitation."

The play is billed as "an unsettling parable about strife and sacrifice between fathers and sons at opposite ends of the political spectrum in an America 30 years hence."

Laurence Luckinbill was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in The Shadow Box. Other Broadway appearances include A Man for All Seasons, Chapter Two, Cabaret, Tartuffe, Beekman Place, Poor Murderer, Past Tense and Dancing in the End Zone. Other New York appearances include Baitz's A Fair Country, The Memory Bank (NY Critic Circle Award), What the Butler Saw and The Boys in the Band (also the film). He tours the U.S. in solo performances as Lyndon Johnson and Clarence Darrow.

Tyler Francavilla plays Tim on the NBC series "Happy Family." Will McCormack has appeared in Baitz's Mizlansky/Zilinsky or Schmucks at MTC (also at The Geffen Playhouse), Summer and Smoke at Roundabout Theater Company and, most recently, The Long Christmas Ride Home at The Vineyard.

Bess Wohl is the author and director of Cats Talk Back, the comedy that won a Best Overall Production award at the 2003 New York International Fringe Festival. A graduate of Harvard University and the Yale School of Drama, she appeared regionally in such productions as Serious Money, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Taming of the Shrew, The Rocky Horror Show and Mad Forest.

Director Egan is artistic director of the Ojai Playwrights Conference. As producing director at the Mark Taper Forum, he has been director of new play development and founder and producing director of its New Work Festival. He has produced, directed and dramaturged more than 250 plays in the U.S. and Europe.

Designers are Santo Loquasto (sets), Laura Bauer (costumes) and Donald Holder (lighting).

Tickets are $55. Performances play Tuesdays through Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2:30 & 8 PM and Sundays at 2:30 & 7:30 PM.

For information, visit For tickets, call (212) 279 4200.

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