Michael Cera Sets Broadway Debut in 'This Is Our Youth'

7:40 PM PST 04/08/2014 by David Rooney
Fabrizio Maltese
Michael Cera

The "Arrested Development" star will appear opposite Kieran Culkin and fashion pundit Tavi Gevinson in a revival of Kenneth Lonergan's 1996 play, produced by Scott Rudin, with music by Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij.

NEW YORK – Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth, which has been a magnet for top talent since it was first produced in 1996, is headed for Broadway, with Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and fashion media darling Tavi Gevinson set to play the three adrift characters in the caustic but compassionate portrait of post-adolescence.

Produced by Scott Rudin, the play will first be staged this summer at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company. It begins preview performances there on June 10, with the official opening set for June 18. The limited engagement runs through July 27 before transferring to Broadway's Cort Theatre. New York previews are set to start on Aug. 18 for a Sept. 11 opening.

Anna D. Shapiro, a Tony winner for the Steppenwolf production of Tracy Letts' August: Osage County, will direct. Shapiro at present is putting the finishing touches on the Broadway revival of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, starring James Franco and Chris O'Dowd, which is in previews for an April 16 opening.

Set in an apartment on New York's Upper West Side in 1982, Lonergan's play explores 48 hours in the lives of three disaffected college-age friends who were small children in the 1960s. They find the values they were raised to believe in becoming obsolete at the dawn of the Reagan era. A favorite with critics as well as actors, the play has long been regarded as a perceptive snapshot of the limbo between adolescence and adulthood.

This Is Our Youth debuted Off Broadway at the New Group with Josh Hamilton, Mark Ruffalo and Missy Yager. It was also produced with great success in London, with a cast that at various times featured Hayden Christensen, Matt Damon, Colin Hanks, Jake Gyllenhaal, Casey Affleck, Anna Paquin, Freddie Prinze Jr., Alison Lohman and Culkin, among others.

Cera and Culkin previously appeared together in the play in Sydney, Australia, in 2012. Cera plays Warren, a dejected 19-year-old who has stolen $15,000 from his tycoon father, while Culkin plays his drug-dealer friend Dennis.

All three castmembers will be making their Broadway debuts in the production, which also marks the first Lonergan play to move from his Off Broadway roots.

Since becoming a breakout media star at age 12 with her Rookie fashion blog and subsequent website, Gevinson has taken her first steps toward an acting career, notably in Nicole Holofcener's Enough Said. Fittingly, her role of Jessica in This Is Our Youth is that of an "anxiously insightful" fashion student.

The production will feature original music composed by Grammy winner Rostam Batmanglij, of Vampire Weekend.

Lonergan previously worked with Rudin on Margaret, the troubled 2011 Fox Searchlight feature that went through an acrimonious postproduction battle but ultimately was embraced by many critics as one of the year's best films when it was finally released. Rudin is currently represented on Broadway with the smash 2011 Tony-winning musical, The Book of Mormon, and the revival of A Raisin in the Sun starring Denzel Washington, which opened last week to rave reviews.

The Lonergan play's Broadway run will be a 20-week limited engagement, scheduled through Jan. 4, 2015.

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