New City Stage Company presents the Philadelphia professional premiere of HURLYBURLY by David Rabe this week. The show is staged by Barrymore Award winning director James J. Christy and features Russ Widdall of HBO's "The Wire." This award-winning play is the third professional production of New City Stage's 7th season, entitled "The New American Dysfunctional Family". This is the first time the show is receiving a professional production in the greater Philadelphia area. Performances begin this Thursday, February 28, and run throught through March 24, 2013 at the Adrienne Theater Main Stage at 2030 Sansom Street in downtown Philadelphia. Opening night is Saturday, March 2 at 8 PM. Tickets range from $10 to 35 and available on line here and by calling the box office at 215-563-7500.
This riveting drama took New York by storm in 1984. Two casting directors live together and provide as close to a "home life" as they can for their friends and a runaway girl. These sad socialites are nose deep in the decadent, perverse, cocaine culture that is 1980s Hollywood, pursing a sex crazed, drug-addled vision of the American Dream.
"A powerful permanent contribution to American drama...Riveting, disturbing, fearsomely funny... This deeply felt play deserves as wide an audience as possible." Newsweek
David Rabe on Wikipedia" onclick="linkClick(this.href)" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Rabe">David Rabe (born March 10, 1940) is an American playwright and screenwriter. He won the Tony Award for Best Play in 1972 for "Sticks and Bones" and also received Tony award nominations for Best Play for his plays "In the Boom Boom Room", "Streamers" and "Hurlyburly." He was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for "Casualties of War", based on the actual events of the incident on Hill 192 in 1966 during the Vietnam War.
Born in Dubuque, Iowa, he began graduate studies in theater at Villanova University in the mid-1960's, but dropped out and was drafted into the army in 1965. He served until 1967, spending his last eleven months of service in Vietnam. After leaving the military, Rabe returned to Villanova, earned his M.A. in 1968. He was the first graduate of Villanova's M.A. in theatre program. During this time, he began work on the play "Sticks and Bones", about the ugly underbelly of the Nelson family when they are faced with their hopeless son David returning home from Vietnam as a blinded vet.
One of Villanova's most celebrated graduates gets one of Philadelphia's most celebrated directors for the first professional production of his most controversial script. James J. Christy has accumulated numerous regional and off-Broadway credits during his 35 year career. He also won the Barrymore Award for Outstanding Direction for staging "The Laramie Project" for Philadelphia Theatre Company in 2001. Mr. Christy taught at in the graduate program in Villanova's Theatre Department for 30 years. Mr. Rabe had his first class with Mr. Christy, and Mr. Christy work-shopped the first draft of "Sticks and Bones." Producing Artistic Director Ginger Dayle also graduated from Villanova's M.A. Theatre program and wrote her dramaturgy thesis on "Hurlyburly." She also took her first directing class with Mr. Christy.
After seeing New City Stage's highly acclaimed production of "RFK", directed by Ms. Dayle and starring Russ Widdall, Mr. Christy approached the company about directing "Hurlyburly." "It's a play I've always wanted to do and I thought it would be great to do with one of Philadelphia's most exciting young theatre companies," says Christy. "It's also great to support a Villanova graduate who's really making her mark in the local theatre community." He was equally impressed with Mr. Widdall's tour de force performance as Robert F. Kennedy and cast him in the lead role of Eddie. "Russ is an actor who can really command the stage and showed a great deal of range and nuance as Bobby Kennedy. I'm excited to finally get the chance to direct him."
RUSS WIDDALL has been performing professionally in Philadelphia and nationally for over 20 years and has been Co-Artistic Director at New City Stage Company for 3 years. He has performed in television, film and theatre, featuring several productions at the Walnut Street Theatre and the regular role of Ron Lowenthal on HBO's "The Wire." He will reprise his role as Senator Kennedy in July in Washington, D.C. and in November in Philadelphia. "Having to run the motor of an 80's drug addict with big existential questions will test the endurance and creativity of any performer. I embrace the challenge," says Widdall.