Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Houdyshell Itching to Reprise Steppenwolf Role Off-Broadway

Houdyshell Itching to Reprise Steppenwolf Role Off-Broadway

As previously reported, the Bruce Norris play The Pain And The Itch -- first produced last year at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre -- is set for its New York debut beginning September 1 at the Mainstage Theater of Playwrights Horizons. The official opening of this emotionally-charged comedy that centers on class and race relations is set for September 26.

The great news is that the outstanding Jayne Houdyshell (Tony-nominated this year in Well) is set to reprise her memorable role as the concerned mother/grandmother. Anna D. Shapiro will once again direct. Not only did Houdyshell win Chicago theatre's Jefferson Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in The Pain And The Itch last year (see photo), but the production itself was nominated for Best New Play.

The Off-Broadway cast will also include Mia Barron, Aya Cash, Peter Jay Fernandez, Reg Rogers and Christopher Evan Welch, as well as Ada-Marie L. Guitierrez and Nora Markus alternating in the role of the play's seemingly endangered child.

Houdyshell alone makes this a production worth seeing, but I've also been delighted by the talented Welch, first catching him as a troubled Vietnam vet in another Norris play (Purple Heart at Steppenwolf in 2002), and then again Off-Broadway in Woody Allen's Writer's Block during 2003. His creepy characterizations are an artform all unto themselves.

I'm thrilled that this show is finally getting the New York audience it deserves.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for ticket information.
Related Stories:
The Pain And The Itch Slated for New York Run (June 7, 2006)
SOB’s Best of 2005-06: #4 – A Blameless Life (Steppenwolf Garage, Chicago, IL) (May 24, 2006)
Flashback: Best of 2002-03 (May 24, 2006)

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At 12 July, 2006, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

I received the following e-mail on this posting that I wanted to share:

"I had to let you know how thrilled I was when I saw your entry on Jayne Houdyshell. I know Jayne from my days at Missouri Rep. theatre. I was the wardrobe manager and throughout the 90’s, she was pretty much a fixture at the theatre doing a variety of roles in many plays…I’m not Rappaport, Death of a Salesman, Broadway Bound, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof………Anyway, she was always wonderful AND an absolute delight to work with. It was a real pleasure to see and read all of the acclaim she received for her performance in Well, and I was really hoping she would win the Tony. I’m sure it was a lovely performance. Did you see it?? I’m sorry I didn’t get to see The Pain and the Itch when it was here. When I discovered she was in the cast, it was too late……Anyway, it’s always nice to see deserving people get some recognition."

Alas, I never did get to see Well, as much as I wanted to. Unfortunately, despite the critical acclaim, the theatregoing audience in New York never gravitated toward the Broadway production. Houdyshell was supposedly the best thing about the production. As you'll see from the attaching link (http://steveonbroadway.blogspot.com/2006/06/well-well-well-if-it-isnt-boston.html), I discussed Well's premature closing.


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