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Second Stage Theater has announced five plays for its 2019-20 season, including the return to Broadway of Tony- and Pulitzer-winning August: Osage County playwright Tracy Letts with the Steppenwolf Theatre production of his dark comedy Linda Vista.
Directed by Dexter Bullard, the play recently had its West Coast premiere at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. The sardodic portrait of a 50-year-old divorcee, just out of his ex-wife’s garage and into his own home in time to enter into a disorienting mid-life spiral, will begin previews Sept. 19 ahead of an Oct. 10 opening at Second Stage’s Broadway home, the Helen Hayes Theatre.
The limited engagement of Linda Vista will be followed by Bess Wohl’s Grand Horizons, previewing from Dec. 20, with its official opening set for Jan. 23, 2020. Directed by Leigh Silverman, the play centers on Bill and Nancy, a couple about to settle into the retirement community of the title, when Nancy abruptly decides she wants out after 50 years of marriage. The production marks the Broadway debut of Wohl (Small Mouth Sounds), whose play Make Believe will be presented off-Broadway by Second Stage beginning in July.
Grand Horizons will have its world premiere at this summer’s Williamstown Theatre Festival, featuring JoBeth Williams as Nancy and Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Thomas Sadoski as the couple’s two adult sons, though no cast has yet been confirmed for the Broadway run.
Next up at the Hayes is a revival of Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out, which won the 2003 Tony Award for best play. Previewing from March 31, 2020, ahead of an April 23 opening night, the play chronicles the fallout when African-American major league baseball star center fielder Darren Lemming comes out of the closet, exposing deep-rooted prejudices within America’s favorite pastime. Scott Ellis directs.
Just prior to the allegedly staged attack in Chicago that has made him tabloid fodder since late January, Jussie Smollett took part in a reading of the Greenberg play in New York, with other actors including Zachary Quinto. But no casting for the Broadway revival has been confirmed.
Also on the slate for Second Stage are two off-Broadway world premieres. Will Eno’s The Underlying Chris looks at the challenges of coming to terms with our identity, and the tiny moments that can profoundly change our lives. That play starts previews Oct. 29 and opens Nov. 21 at the Tony Kiser Theater.
Uptown at the McGinn/Cazale Theater in a co-production with WP Theater, newcomer Alexis Scheer’s Our Dear Dead Drug Lord begins previews Sept. 11 ahead of a Sept. 24 opening. The comedy examines the dangers and damage of girlhood through the experiences of a teenage gang who gather in an abandoned treehouse to summon the ghost of Pablo Escobar.
After a long history as one of New York’s leading nonprofit off-Broadway companies, Second Stage recently expanded its reach to include Broadway with the acquisition of the Hayes, which launched last season with a mandate to present works by living American playwrights. The 2019-20 season marks the first time the company will be producing on all three of its stages. Two additional off-Broadway productions remain to be announced.
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