Neil LaBute to Direct 'Reasons to Be Happy' Off Broadway

Neil LaBute 'In a Forest, Dark and Deep' Launch - P 2012
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Neil LaBute 'In a Forest, Dark and Deep' Launch - P 2012

Debuting in May, the world premiere is a companion piece to the playwright's Tony-nominated 2008 drama, "Reasons to Be Pretty."

NEW YORK -- Slapping what sounds like an ironic title on the work of one of America's most famously acidic contemporary playwrights, Neil LaBute will direct the world-premiere production of his new play, Reasons to Be Happy.

The MCC Theater Off Broadway production is scheduled to begin previews on May 16 for a June 23 opening at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. LaBute is currently Playwright-in-Residence at MCC, and has a fruitful relationship with the company dating back ten years.

His new play picks up three years down the line with the same quartet of characters from his critically lauded 2008 drama, Reasons to Be Pretty. Directed by Terry Kinney, that production transferred from the Lortel to Broadway and was nominated for three Tony Awards. It starred Thomas Sadoski, Marin Ireland, Steven Pasquale and Piper Perabo.

No casting has been announced for LaBute's companion piece, which explores the conflicting agendas and exploding emotions as Steph and Greg attempt a fresh start after their contentious breakup. That path is complicated by their tangled relationships with Steph's best friend Carly and her jealous ex-husband Kent.

The LaBute premiere replaces the previously announced production of John Pollono's Small Engine Repair in the MCC season. Slated to star Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead), that production has been delayed due to cast members' film schedule conflicts.

A screen adaptation of LaBute's play Some Girl(s) is currently in post-production, starring Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Jennifer Morrison, Zoe Kazan and Emily Watson