Reteaming Vogel with director Mark Brokaw (who helmed her 1998 Pulitzer Prize winning play How I Learned to Drive), the new work began previews Oct. 14 and extended its six-week engagement two more weeks prior to its Nov. 4 opening.
The New York premiere of the work opened the Vineyard season. John Carrafa (Urinetown) handled choreography.
"I don't even know how many decades now — a long, long time ago I had the idea for this play. I just didn't know how to do it, and decided to keep putting it on the back burner until I found the techniques to do it," Vogel revealed to Playbill On-Line. She found her answer in Bunraku-inspired puppets designed by Basil Twist. (To read the complete interview, visit Playbill On-Line's Brief Encounter section.)
Tony Award winner Randy Graff starred in the Vogel drama which centers on a family whose car spins out of control on an icy road following a Christmas dinner gone awry.
Graff heads up a cast that includes Enid Graham (Fortune's Fool, Honour), Mark Blum (The Graduate), Will McCormack (Mizlansky/Zilansky), Catherine Kellner (The Iceman Cometh) and Sean Palmer (Fosse). The actors were joined by a company of puppeteers including Matt Acheson, Oliver Dalzel, Erin Eager, Mark Petrosino, Sarah Provost and Lake Simons.
The design team for The Long Christmas Ride Home features Neil Patel (scenic), Mark McCullough (lighting), Jess Goldstein (costume) and David Van Tieghem (sound) — who also provides original music.
The Long Christmas Ride Home made its world premiere at Rhode Island's Trinity Repertory Theatre earlier this year. The production was directed by Oskar Eustis and starred Contact's Sean Martin Hingston.
The Long Christmas Ride Home received positive critical and audience response, selling out its 10-week run through Dec. 7. The Bunraku-inspired work was saved for posterity last week when it was filmed for the Lincoln Center Library.
The production was unable to extend due to prior commitments for some cast members. (Graff is currently rehearsing Fiddler on the Roof.) An oft-mentioned candidate for a Broadway or Off-Broadway transfer, sources have the show possibly returning to the stage in the spring of 2004.
For ticket information call the Vineyard box office (located at 108 E. 15 Street) at (212) 353-0303 or visit www.vineyardtheatre.org.