Blackburn Prize-Winning Language Archive Gets NYC Bow; Jane Houdyshell Among Stars | Playbill

News Blackburn Prize-Winning Language Archive Gets NYC Bow; Jane Houdyshell Among Stars
The New York City premiere of The Language Archive, the Julia Cho comedy commissioned by Roundabout Theatre Company, begins Sept. 24. Matt Letscher plays a man obsessed with documenting languages of distant cultures.

Jayne Houdyshell
Jayne Houdyshell Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Mark Brokaw (After Miss Julie and Distracted) directs a cast that features Betty Gilpin (MTC's That Face), John Horton (Broadway's Kiss Me, Kate; and Noises Off), Tony Award nominee Jayne Houdyshell (Broadway's Well, Bye Bye Birdie and Wicked, and Off-Broadway's The Receptionist) and 2010 Theatre World Award recipient Heidi Schreck (Circle Mirror Transformation).

Performances play to Dec. 19 at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre (111 West 46th Street). Opening is Oct. 17.


Letscher has appeared on Broadway in The Rivals at Lincoln Center and Neil Simon's Proposals, and regionally in the world premiere of Lanford Wilson's Raindance, among other productions. He most recently performed at the South Coast Rep in In the Garden.

The design team for The Language Archive includes Neil Patel (sets), Michael Krass (costumes), Marc McCullough (lights) and David Van Tieghem (sound). Here's how Roundabout bills the play: "The Language Archive is a poignant and quirky comedy that seems to prove love is the one language that can leave us all at a loss for words. George is a man consumed with preserving and documenting the dying languages of far-flung cultures. Closer to home, though, language is failing him. He doesn’t know what to say to his wife, Mary, to keep her from leaving him, and he doesn’t recognize the deep feelings that his lab assistant, Emma, has for him."

The Language Archive won the 2010 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, awarded to an outstanding new English-language play by a woman. The play had its world premiere at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, CA, in March 2010, produced by special arrangement with Roundabout. It was directed by Roundabout associate artist Brokaw.

Playwright Cho is the author of The Piano Teacher, Durango, The Winchester House, BFE, The Architecture of Loss and 99 Histories. She is an alumna of the Juilliard School and NYU's Graduate Dramatic Writing Program, and a member of New Dramatists.

Tickets for The Language Archive are available by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212) 719-1300, online at or at the Laura Pels box office (111 West 46th Street).

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