David Lindsay-Abaire's play about a well-heeled New York City-area couple dealing with the recent death of their young son was to play its scheduled MTC run to mid-March, but tickets are now on sale to April 2.
Tears and laughter are the mix of emotions in the Biltmore. The New York Times gave Rabbit Hole a glowing review, calling the experience just short of greatness, and that was enough to start more tickets moving at the box office. (It opened Feb. 2 following previews from Jan. 12.)
Next up at the Biltmore in the not-for-profit MTC's season is Conor McPherson's Shining City, starting April 13 toward a May 3 opening.
MTC has not yet had to deal with the scenario of a Biltmore production that is a breakaway hit there — the sort of production, like Doubt or Proof, that seems to spark the unanimous imaginations of critics and audiences and is plucked up by commercial producers.
While a commercial transfer is never the immediate goal of a resident theatre company, Rabbit Hole's so far moderate success does invite the question of what MTC would do with its existing season schedule at the Broadway Biltmore if a smashzilla was birthed there. Three other MTC commercial transfers, Doubt, Proof and The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, all began at MTC's Off-Broadway home at City Center and moved to Broadway.
Would a Biltmore hit stay put and bump the subsequent Biltmore season plays to another Broadway house? Would the subsequent plays simply be postponed?
That road will be crossed when MTC comes to it. For now, it's easy for an observer to read in the reviews that director Daniel Sullivan and the cast of five — including Cynthia Nixon, John Slattery, Tyne Daly, Mary Catherine Garrison and John Gallagher Jr. — are all strong contenders for Tony Award nominations, to say nothing of playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, who some critics have said reached maturity as a writer with the humor-laced drama.
(The reviews, to be sure, have been positive-to-mixed, with most critics agreeing that the production is intelligently and sensitively wrought by all.)
The plot at hand concerns a life-shattering accident for parents Becca and Howie, played by Cynthia Nixon and John Slattery. The Westchester couple is only eight months removed from the death of their young son. The grieving process is slow, and mother and father are still piecing their emotions together — and learning how to be husband and wife again.
Lindsay-Abaire stacks the emotional deck by populating the well-appointed suburban home (designed by John Lee Beatty) with Becca's lost-soul sister, Izzy, played by Mary Catherine Garrison, and brusque mother, Nat, played by Tyne Daly. Both Nat and Izzy arouse motherhood issues in emotionally stuck Becca. (Get out your handkerchiefs — sniffles echo throughout the Biltmore, and not because it's cold and flu season.)
MTC bills the play as "a bittersweet drama about finding hope in the lowest moments of our lives, and the paths we take to return to the light of day."
According to MTC, "Becca (Nixon) and Howie Corbett (Slattery) have everything they could want, until a life-shattering accident turns their world upside down, and leaves the couple drifting perilously apart. Becca, who must also cope with the distractions of her reckless sister Izzy (Garrison), and their opinionated mother, Nat (Daly), takes solace in her unlikely friendship with a neighborhood teenager, Jason (John Gallagher, Jr.), who might provide the key to lead her back from the darkest of places."
Rabbit Hole marks the Broadway debut of Lindsay-Abaire, a favorite writer of MTC, which presented his Fuddy Meers, Wonder of the World and Kimberly Akimbo Off-Broadway. Lindsay-Abaire is also currently working the Broadway-aimed musicals High Fidelity and Shrek. He is currently writing the screen adaptation of the novel "Inkheart" by Cornelia Funke for New Line Features, as well as a screen adaptation of Kimberly Akimbo for Dreamworks.
The creative team for Rabbit Hole includes John Lee Beatty (set design), Jennifer von Mayrhauser (costume design), Christopher Akerlind (lighting design), and John Gromada (sound design and original music).
The Biltmore Theatre is at 261 W. 47th Street.
For tickets or information, visit TeleCharge.com or call (212) 239-6200 or visit www.manhattantheatreclub.com.