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NEW YORK — Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce are among the ensemble of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, the new work from absurdist playwright Christopher Durang, which will debut Off Broadway in the fall for Lincoln Center Theater.
Commissioned by McCarter Theatre, the play will have its official premiere on that company’s Princeton, NJ, stage, running Sept. 7 through Oct. 7. It then moves directly to New York, starting previews in LCT’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater on Oct. 25, with opening set for Nov. 12. Nicholas Martin directs.
Durang lifts characters and themes from classic Chekhov works in the new play, tossing them into a comic blender in present-day Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Vanya and his stepsister Sonia have spent their lives in the family farmhouse taking care of their ailing parents, while Masha, their glamorous movie-star sibling, traveled the world, lately with her boy toy Spike. The stay-at-homes seem reconciled to their static lives of regret until their clairvoyant cleaning woman alerts them to terrible things in the future.
Weaver will play Masha in the production, with Pierce (a Tony Award winner for his role in the musical Curtains) as Vanya. Frequent Durang collaborator Kristine Nielsen plays Sonia, and former As the World Turns star Billy Magnussen appears as Spike. The cast also includes Genevieve Angelson and Shalita Grant.
Weaver has a long association with her fellow Yale School of Drama alum Durang, having appeared Off Broadway in 1981 in his play Beyond Therapy in addition to co-authoring and starring together a number of times in their Brecht-Weill parody, Das Lusitania Songspiel. Pierce appeared in the 1982 Broadway transfer of Beyond Therapy.
Durang’s other notable plays include Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, A History of the American Film, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, Laughing Wild, Betty’s Summer Vacation, and Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them.
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