MTC Adds Humor Abuse to Season, Announces Casting for Ruined, Accent on Youth

News   MTC Adds Humor Abuse to Season, Announces Casting for Ruined, Accent on Youth
Manhattan Theatre Club announced more details about its spring 2009 season, including casting for two titles and the addition of a world premiere, Humor Abuse, by performer Lorenzo Pisoni and director Erica Schmidt.

Humor Abuse, beginning previews Feb. 19, 2009, and opening March 10, 2009, at MTC City Center Stage II, is a "new one-man-show created by performer Lorenzo Pisoni (Equus, Last Dance) and director Erica Schmidt (Debbie Does Dallas)." It's "the unique story of Pisoni's upbringing as the youngest member of the Pickle Family Circus, the Bay Area's tiny big top that entertained thousands of people worldwide and launched the careers of several legendary performers. Filled with the clowning that Pisoni learned at his father's knee, and the wonder, heartache and complexity of stepping into (and out of) his father's shoes, Humor Abuse shows that running away with the circus isn't always fun and games."

The creative team for Humor Abuse will be announced shortly.

Pisoni's Broadway performing credits include Equus, Henry IV (LCT) and Off-Broadway's Devil's Disciple (Irish Rep), Election Day (Second Stage, Lortel nomination), Last Dance (MTC), As You Like It (The Public), Much Ado About Nothing (NYSF), Troilus and Cressida (TFNA).

The not-for-profit company that operates both on Broadway and off also announced Nov. 30 that its spring 2009 production of Accent on Youth (beginning April 7, 2009, toward an April 29 opening) at Broadway's Samuel J. Friedman Theater will feature Theatre World Award winner and Drama Desk Award nominee Lisa Banes (Arcadia), Mary Catherine Garrison (MTC's Top Girls and Rabbit Hole) and Byron Jennings (MTC's Sight Unseen).

The previously announced Tony nominee Charles Kimbrough and Tony and Emmy winner David Hyde Pierce star in the revival of the comedy by Samson Raphaelson. Tony winner Daniel Sullivan (Rabbit Hole, Sight Unseen, Proof) directs. Additional casting for the nine-person cast will be announced in the coming weeks.

Accent on Youth "is a rollicking salute to love's possibilities, both on stage and off. Successful playwright Steven Gaye (Pierce) is about to abandon his latest script, when his young secretary (Garrison) offers him new inspiration. With her as his muse, he stages the show on Broadway, only to learn, to his dismay, that the show's young leading man is being inspired by her too."

The creative team for Accent on Youth includes John Lee Beatty (scenic design), Jane Greenwood (costume design), Brian MacDevitt (lighting design) and Obadiah Eaves (sound design).

The Manhattan run of the MTC-Goodman Theatre world premiere co-production of Lynn Nottage's Ruined, which is now having a critically acclaimed engagement to Dec. 14 at the Goodman in Chicago, will feature the Windy City cast, MTC confirmed. Saidah Arrika Ekulona (Well, Fabulation) will bring her acclaimed leading performance to New York City.

The cast will also feature Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Cherise Boothe, Chris Chalk, William Jackson Harper, Chiké Johnson, Russell Gebert Jones, two-time Emmy Award winner Kevin Mambo ("The Guiding Light"), Tom Mardirosian and Condola Rashad.

Performances begin Jan. 21, 2009, toward a Feb. 10 opening at New York City Center Stage I Off-Broadway. Kate Whoriskey (Fabulation) again directs.

Nottage is the Obie Award-winning author of such plays as Fabulation and Intimate Apparel.

Ruined is the "haunting, probing work about the resilience of the human spirit during times of war. Set in a small mining town in Democratic Republic of Congo, this powerful play follows Mama Nadi (Ekulona), a shrewd businesswoman in a land torn apart by civil war. But is she protecting or profiting by the women she shelters? How far will she go to survive? Can a price be placed on a human life?"


The announcement of Humor Abuse completes MTC's slate of four productions this spring, which, in addition to Accent on Youth and Ruined, includes the upcoming Broadway premiere of Richard Greenberg's The American Plan starring Benjamin Eakeley, Austin Lysy, Brenda Pressley, Lily Rabe and Tony and Academy Award winner Mercedes Ruehl. The limited engagement, directed by Tony Award nominee David Grindley (Journey's End), will begin previews at MTC's Friedman Theatre Jan. 2, 2009, and open Jan. 22.

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