Horton Foote Play 'The Old Friends' to Get Posthumous World Premiere

Horton Foote 2006 - P 2013
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Horton Foote 2006 - P 2013

Michael Wilson will direct the Off Broadway production for Signature Theatre, starring Betty Buckley, Hallie Foote and Lois Smith.

NEW YORK -- An unproduced play by beloved Texan storyteller Horton Foote will get a posthumous world premiere late this summer when The Old Friends makes its debut Off Broadway.

Directed by Michael Wilson, the play stars Betty Buckley, Hallie Foote (the late playwright's daughter and a renowned interpreter of his work), and Lois Smith. It begins performances Aug. 20 at the Signature Theatre's Pershing Square Signature Center, with official opening set for Sept. 12.

The Old Friends centers on Texas matriarch Mamie Borden and two remaining members of longtime local farming families on opposite sides of a conflict going back for generations. They are forced to confront issues of legacy and loyalty when Mamie's daughter-in-law arrives with alarming news.

Signature Theatre has a long history with the work of Foote, the company's Playwright-in-Residence during its 1994-95 season. Signature also staged the world premiere of The Last of the Thorntons in its 2000-01 season; an awards-laden production of The Trip to Bountiful starring Smith in 2005; and the epic three-part Orphans' Home Cycle, directed by Wilson, in 2009. 

One of the leading 20th century chroniclers of small-town American life, Foote's plays and films were set mainly in and around the same fictitious Texas township, inspired by the Pulitzer Prize winner's birthplace of Wharton. He died in 2009, aged 92.

Foote is currently represented on Broadway with the latest revival of The Trip to Bountiful, also directed by Wilson. The production received four Tony Award nominations this week, including best play revival, lead actress in a play for Cicely Tyson and featured actress in a play for Condola Rashad. It also stars Cuba Gooding Jr., Vanessa Williams and Tom Wopat.

The Old Friends replaces the previously announced world premiere of Edward Albee's Laying an Egg on the Signature season schedule, marking the second time that new work has been pushed back. A release states that the company remains committed to producing the play in a future season.