Liev Schreiber and Sigourney Weaver star in the Manhattan Class Company (MCC) Theatre's season opener, the world premiere of Neil LaBute's The Mercy Seat, Nov. 26-Jan. 12.
The new 9/11-themed work opens under the author's direction Dec. 18 at the Acorn Theater. The two-character play explores the affair between a married man and an older woman following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. This production replaces the previously-announced New York premiere of LaBute's The Distance From Here.
Schreiber, known for his stage and film work, was last seen on the New York stage in Land of the Dead (LaBute's contribution to the 9/11 benefit of Brave New World) with Kristin Davis, under the direction of LaBute. A frequent actor at The Public Theater, his Shakespeare credits include The Tempest, Macbeth, Cymbeline, Hamlet and Othello. Last seen on Broadway in another affair-centered play, Betrayal, Schreiber has also sustained a steady film career with roles in the "Scream" trilogy, "The Daytrippers," "Kate & Leopold" and, of course, the Ethan Hawke "Hamlet."
Weaver received a Tony Award nomination for her starring role in Hurlyburly on Broadway, but is perhaps best known for her film work in the "Alien" series, "Ghostbusters," and her Academy Award-nominated turn in "Gorillas in the Mist." Her most recent stage work was in the 9/11-themed The Guys — she also stars in the upcoming film version — directed by her husband Jim Simpson.
LaBute's The Distance From Here was postponed until the 2003-04 season to make room for the more timely Mercy Seat. The film version of his most recent Off Broadway work, The Shape of Things starring Rachel Weisz, Paul Rudd, Gretchen Mol and Frederick Weller, will be released in May 2003 as confirmed by a Focus Features spokesperson. Other LaBute works include bash: latter day plays and Filthy Talk for Troubled Times. For tickets to MCC's The Mercy Seat at the Acorn Theatre, 410 West 42nd St. (between Ninth and Tenth Ave.), call (212) 279-4200.
Following The Mercy Seat is The Crucible star Brian Murray in the title role of first-time playwright Anto Howard's Scattergood. Previews will begin Feb. 11, 2003, and open Feb. 26 for a run through March 22 at the Samuel Beckett Theatre. Doug Hughes will helm the work about a young scholar who aspires for the chivalry of knighthood under the tutelage of his professor.
Jim Simpson, who helmed the still-running Bat Theatre Company production of Anne Nelson's The Guys as well as the Los Angeles production and movie version, will direct the previously-announced Intrigue With Faye. Set to preview May 20 and open June 5.
MCC Theater was founded in 1986 by current artistic directors Robert LuPone and Bernard Telsey. The company is dedicated to bringing new works to New York with its three-play season. Past productions have included Margaret Edson's Pulitzer Prize winning Wit, Tim Blake Nelson's The Grey Zone, Marsha Norman's Trudy Blue and last season's Pulitzer Prize finalist, The Glory of Living by Rebecca Gilman.
For more information about MCC, visit www.MCCTheater.org.