Decrescendo: 33 Variations, Fonda's Broadway Homecoming, Ends May 21 | Playbill

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News Decrescendo: 33 Variations, Fonda's Broadway Homecoming, Ends May 21 33 Variations, Moisés Kaufman's Tony Award-nominated play about a musicologist struggling to understand Beethoven's passion — and her daughter's life — plays its final Broadway performance May 21 at 8 PM.

33 Variations stars Zach Grenier and Jane Fonda
33 Variations stars Zach Grenier and Jane Fonda Photo by Joan Marcus

The play (marking Fonda's return to Broadway after 46 years) was recently nominated for five 2009 Tony Awards including Best Play, Best Leading Actress in a Play (Jane Fonda), Best Featured Actor in a Play (Zach Grenier, as composer Ludwig von Beethoven), Best Scenic Design of a Play (Derek McLane) and Best Lighting Design of a Play (David Lander).

The production, directed by the author, was always a limited run. The unusual choice to close on a Thursday was due to a prior commitment of Fonda's. The original close date was to be May 24. A performance was added May 18.

The cast at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre also includes Samantha Mathis, Colin Hanks, Don Amendolia, Susan Kellermann, Erik Steele and pianist Diane Walsh.

33 Variations began previews on Feb. 9 and opened officially on March 9.

When the limited engagement ends on May 21, it will have played 31 preview performances and 85 regular performances. The design team also includes Janice Pytel (costumes), David C. Woolard (additional costumes), André Pluess (sound), Jeff Sugg (projection design), Charles LaPointe (hair/wig design), Daniel Pelzig (choreography) and Mark Bly (dramaturg).

According to the producers, "33 Variations tells the story of Katherine Brandt (Jane Fonda) trying to solve a centuries-old mystery about the world’s greatest composer. Katherine's obsession takes her from present-day New York to 19th century Austria. As the music that consumes Katherine comes to life on stage, she races against time to find common ground with her daughter and to embrace the legacy of her own life."

The plot's mix of health issues, music history and mother-daughter conflict — as well as the relatively small cast — will likely propel the play-with-music to a wide life in regional theatre, where the work had its developemental roots (at Arena Stage and La Jolla Playhouse).

The Tectonic Theater Project's production of 33 Variations was produced on Broadway by David Binder, Ruth Hendel, Barbara Whitman, Goldberg/Mills, Latitude Link, Arielle Tepper Madover, Bill Resnick, Eric Schnall, Jayne Baron Sherman and Willis/True Love Productions.

Tectonic Theater Project is the award-winning non-profit theatre company behind such plays as The Laramie Project and Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde.

For tickets to the final performance, visit or call (212) 239-6200. The Eugene O'Neill Theatre is located at 230 West 49th Street.


Colin Hanks, Samantha Mathis and Jane Fonda
Colin Hanks, Samantha Mathis and Jane Fonda

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