Norris, Barfield, Nelson, Gurney and a New Musical Will Punctuate Playwrights Horizons' 2006-07 Season

News   Norris, Barfield, Nelson, Gurney and a New Musical Will Punctuate Playwrights Horizons' 2006-07 Season
Playwrights Horizons, the resident Manhattan not-for-profit devoted to writers, announced five productions of its 2006-2007 season, including four New York premieres and one world premiere, by A.R. Gurney.

The five productions will be presented at the Off-Broadway company's two-venue home at 416 West 42nd Street. A sixth production will be announced.

The troupe is run by artistic director Tim Sanford and managing director Leslie Marcus.

Crazy Mary, by Gurney, author of Love Letters, What I Did Last Summer, The Dining Room and The Cocktail Hour, will get its world premiere on PH's Mainstage Theater in May 2007. Jim Simpson will direct.

According to Playwrights Horizons, "In an attempt to account for the family inheritance, the scion of a wealthy Buffalo, NY clan and her willful, college-aged son visit their long lost cousin Mary. The catch: Mary is living in an asylum, and has barely spoken in years, forcing mother and son to employ radical ends to get through."

Gurney's long history with Playwrights Horizons includes productions of A Cheever Evening, Later Life, The Old Boy, Another Antigone, The Perfect Party and The Dining Room (Drama Desk and Pulitzer Prize nominations). Simpson is the artistic director and founder of the Flea Theater, where he has directed the premieres of Kate Robin's The Light Outside; Alice Tuan's Ajax (por nobody); Karen Finley's The Return of the Chocolate-Smeared Woman; Herman Farrell's Bedfellows; Anne Nelson's The Guys and A.R. Gurney's Mrs. Farnsworth. Also the 2006-07 slate for Playwrights Horizons are:

  • The Pain and the Itch, the New York Premiere of a new play by Bruce Norris, directed by Anna D. Shapiro, beginning previews Sept. 1 at the Playwrights Horizons Mainstage Theater. "With a young daughter in serious need of attention and a ravenous creature possibly prowling the upstairs bedrooms, what begins as an average Thanksgiving for one white urban family unravels into an exposé of disastrous choices and less-than-altruistic motives. A hit at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre (and winner of the 2005 Jefferson Award for Best New Play), The Pain and the Itch is a scathing satire of the politics of class and race, a controversial, painfully human examination of denial and its consequences." Bruce Norris' plays (all produced by Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago) include The Infidel, Purple Heart, We All Went Down to Amsterdam, The Unmentionables and the original production of The Pain and the Itch. He also wrote and directed The Vanishing Twin for Lookingglass. As a playwright, this is his Playwrights Horizons debut, but as an actor, he appeared in the company's production of Plunge.

  • Blue Door, the New York premiere of a new play by Tanya Barfield, director and cast to be announced. Previews begin in October at PH's Peter Jay Sharp Theater. "When a prominent African-American mathematician in crisis begins to lose his grip on reality, the ghosts of ancestors past shatter the serenity of an insomnia-filled night. Blue Door is a tour-de-force for two actors, a vivid, exuberantly theatrical play about the black American male experience." Tanya Barfield's plays have been presented in festivals at Arena Stage, The Royal Court, New York Theatre Workshop, Seattle Rep, Hartford Stage, The Guthrie Lab and New York Stage & Film. These works include Dent, The Quick, 121° West, Pecan Tan and The Houdini Act, as well as the book for a children's musical, Kofi's Civil War. Prior to becoming a playwright, she was a solo performer, appearing in her one-woman show Without Skin or Breathlessness.

  • Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky, New York premiere of a new musical with book and lyrics by David Cale, music by Jonathan Kreisberg and David Cale. Director and cast to be announced. Previews begin November 2006 at PH's Mainstage Theater. "Burnt out, living out of his Studebaker, former country-western star Floyd Duffner's best days seem to be behind him. But when a 20 year-old feral beauty with an electrifying voice enters the picture, an unlikely friendship and musical partnership begins to blossom. A freewheeling musical journey from Montana to Austin (with a side trip to Hollywood), Floyd and Clea is a tale of sweet heartbreak, a parable about finding the strength, against all odds, to keep on keepin' on." David Cale (book, music and lyrics) is returning to Playwrights Horizons for the first time since the production of his play Lillian. He has written and performed six solo shows including Deep in a Dream of You (Public Theater, Museum of Modern Art, Goodman Theatre, Bessie Award) and Smooch Music (The Kitchen, Goodman), both written in collaboration with composer Roy Nathanson, and The Redthroats (Second Stage, P.S. 122, Goodman, Mark Taper Forum, Taper Too, Bessie Award).

    Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky has been presented by Hartford Stage and The Goodman Theatre.

  • Frank's Home, as previously reported, the New York premiere of a new play by Richard Nelson, directed by Robert Falls, produced in association with The Goodman Theatre. Previews begin January 2007 at PH's Mainstage, following its debut in Chicago. "It is summer, 1923, and architect Frank Lloyd Wright has recently left Chicago for California, determined to embrace Hollywood's youthful zest and mend broken relationships with his adult children. Having recently completed his latest 'wonder of the world' — Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel — Wright is poised to settle down and embrace his new home. But his splintered family still holds deep-seated resentments. Frank's Home is a lyrical, heartbreaking story about one of our greatest, if less than perfect, visionaries — a man who created a new architectural vocabulary, but couldn't create a home for himself and his family."

    Richard Nelson's history with Playwrights Horizons includes the world premieres of My Life with Albertine (with Ricky Ian Gordon), Franny's Way (Drama Desk nomination for Best Play), James Joyce's The Dead (with Shaun Davey, Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical), The Vienna Notes (Obie Award) and Jungle Coup, the American premiere of Goodnight Children Everywhere (Olivier Award for Best Play) and the New York premiere of Rodney's Wife. He is the company’s most-produced writer. His other plays include Madame Melville, The General From America, New England, Misha's Party (co-written with Alexander Gelman), Columbus and the Discovery of Japan, Two Shakespearean Actors (Tony nomination for Best Play), Some Americans Abroad (Olivier Award nomination for Best Comedy), Left, Principia Scriptoriae (London Time Out Award), Between East and West, Life Sentences, The Return of Pinocchio and Rip Van Winkle or The Works.

    Robert Falls directed Broadway's Long Day's Journey Into Night (three 2003 Tony Awards, including Best Revival) as well as the 1999 Tony Award-winning Death of a Salesman, for which he was honored as Best Director. His other Broadway credits include the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Young Man From Atlanta, Aida, The Speed of Darkness, The Rose Tattoo and The Night of the Iguana.

    For subscription and ticket information to all Playwrights Horizons productions, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200, Noon to 8 pm daily, or visit the Playwrights Horizons website at

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