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Tuesday, 18 June 2013 12:50

MTC's CHOIR BOY Begins Performances Tonight, Jun 18

Manhattan Theatre Club

MANHATTAN THEATRE CLUB’S AMERICAN PREMIERE OF

CHOIR BOY

BEGINS PERFORMANCES TONIGHT AT 7:30 PM

Written by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Directed by Trip Cullman

“Threaded with searing gospel songs, McCraney's exhilarating new play examines the shifting nature of truths, biblical and otherwise, and cleverly manipulates the hot-house setting to consider wider issues of black American history, from the brutal days of slavery to Obama's cry of ‘Yes, we can!’”
- Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

Five Week Limited Engagement

at The Studio at Stage II - Harold and Mimi Steinberg New Play Series
at New York City Center (131 West 55th Street)

Manhattan Theatre Club’s American premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s CHOIR BOY, the new play featuring gospel music directed by Trip Cullman begins previews tonight at 7:30 PM in preparation for a Tuesday, July 2 opening at MTC’s The Studio at Stage II – Harold and Mimi Steinberg New Play Series at New York City Center – Stage II (131 West 55th Street).

The limited engagement of CHOIR BOY features Nicholas L. Ashe (The Lion King), Kyle Beltran (In The Heights), Grantham Coleman (As You Like It), Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper (The Piano Lesson), Drama Desk Award winner Austin Pendleton (Ivanov), Jeremy Pope (Little Shop of Horrors), and Wallace Smith (American Idiot).

In order to ensure that tickets to CHOIR BOY are affordable to the widest possible, most diverse audiences, MTC is pricing all tickets at $30. Tickets are on sale via CityTix® (212-581-1212), www.nycitycenter.org and at the New York City Center Box Office.

The Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys is dedicated to the creation of strong, ethical black men. Pharus (Jeremy Pope) wants nothing more than to take his rightful place as leader of the school’s legendary gospel choir. Can he find his way inside the hallowed halls of this institution if he sings in his own key?

The creative team for the new MTC production of CHOIR BOY includes: David Zinn (scenic and costume design), Peter Kaczorowski (lighting design), Fitz Patton (sound design), and Jason Michael Webb (music director).

Commissioned by MTC with support from Time Warner Inc., CHOIR BOY opened at London’s Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs in a co-production with MTC and was hailed by critics. Below is a sampling of the critical response for the play:

“Threaded with searing gospel songs, McCraney's exhilarating new play examines the shifting nature of truths, biblical and otherwise, and cleverly manipulates the hot-house setting to consider wider issues of black American history, from the brutal days of slavery to Obama's cry of ‘Yes, we can!’”

- Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

“FOUR STARS! School corridors offer great territory for dramatists, providing as much ambition, jealousy and revenge as a Jacobean court – with teenage hormones swirled into the mix. McCraney’s play relishes much of this, but it is also a subtle, funny, and touching exploration of the pressures of identity on the young black American male. As a power struggle breaks out in the school choir, McCraney delicately picks his way through the questions about history, sexuality and religion that beset his young characters.”

- Sarah Hemming, The Financial Times

Choir Boy is a breathtakingly beautiful, masterful piece of theatre. McCraney is a hugely talented playwright and I predict that Choir Boy will soon become a modern American classic. The play, set in an all-black, American prep school, scintillates with emotion, pathos, and intelligence, and is a magisterial work which I feel privileged to have watched. Choir Boy is replete with big, meaningful themes, be it the loneliness of the perennial outsider, the development of love and tolerance for those who are different and denial about one’s sexual orientation, to name a few, but skillfully and adroitly explores each with great control and admirable finesse. Moreover, the play forcefully yet skillfully challenges our attitudes to homophobia and the complexities of acceptance.”

- Lindsay Johns, The Daily Mail

“Examining the role of religion in the repression of gay sexuality at an all-black prep school alongside the construction of black cultural identity, Choir Boy is as intellectually and emotionally riveting as it is authentic. The reason McCraney scores such a bullseye is his ability to place the dangers of adolescent sexual longing in a fascinatingly wide context.”

- David Benedict, Variety

For additional details on CHOIR BOY and offers to all MTC shows, please sign up for MTC’s “30 Under 30” program for theatergoers age 30 and under https://www.manhattantheatreclub.com/30under30/.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Lynne Meadow and Executive Producer Barry Grove, MTC has become one of the country’s most prominent and prestigious theatre companies. Over the past three decades, MTC productions have earned a total of 18 Tony Awards and six Pulitzer Prizes, an accomplishment unparalleled by a New York theatrical institution. MTC has a Broadway home at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street) and an Off-Broadway theatre at New York City Center – Stage I (131 West 55th Street). Since January 2011, Mandy Greenfield (Artistic Producer) has taken the lead in programming and execution at MTC’s Off-Broadway home. Renowned MTC productions include Venus in Fur; Master Class; Good People; The Whipping Man; Time Stands Still; The Royal Family; Ruined; The American Plan; Come Back, Little Sheba; Blackbird; Translations; Shining City; Rabbit Hole; Doubt; Proof; The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife; Love! Valour! Compassion!; A Small Family Business; Sylvia; Putting It Together; Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune; Crimes of the Heart; and Ain’t Misbehavin.’

The Studio at Stage II is Manhattan Theatre Club’s new initiative, under the leadership of Mandy Greenfield, at New York City Center – Stage II (131 West 55th Street). The initiative launched fall of 2012 with the sold out, critically acclaimed world premiere of  MURDER BALLAD the new rock musical by Julia Jordan and Juliana Nash and continues this summer with the American premiere of CHOIR BOY. As part of The Studio at Stage II, MTC and Ars Nova (Jason Eagan, Artistic Director; Jeremy Blocker, Managing Director) have partnered to launch The Writer’s Room a program to commission, develop, and support playwrights in the process of creating new work for the stage. Commissioned writers for 2012-2013 are Adam Bock (A Small Fire) and Justin Levine (Bonfire Night) collaborating on the creation of a new musical; Thomas Bradshaw (Job); Samuel D. Hunter (The Whale); and Sharyn Rothstein (The Invested).

The Studio at Stage II has been partially underwritten with a major grant from The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.

CHOIR BOY is a co-production with Alliance Theatre.

TICKETING INFORMATION:

  • Tickets for CHOIR BOY are available at the New York City Center Box Office (131 West 55th Street), CityTix® (212-581-1212), and www.nycitycenter.org. In order to ensure that tickets to CHOIR BOY are affordable to the widest possible, most diverse audiences, MTC is pricing tickets at $30 for the initial run of the show.

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE:

  • TUESDAY, JUNE 18 – SUNDAY, JUNE 23: Tuesday through Sunday at 7:30 PM. Matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 PM.
  • MONDAY, JUNE 24 – SUNDAY, JUNE 30: Monday and Tuesday at 7:30 PM, Thursday through Sunday at 7:30 PM. Matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 PM. There will be no performance on Wednesday, June 26 of this week.
  • MONDAY, JULY 1 – SUNDAY, JULY 7 (WEEK OF OPENING & JULY 4 HOLIDAY): Monday through Wednesday at 7:30 PM, Friday through Sunday at 7:30 PM. Matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 PM. There will be no performance on Thursday, July 4 of this week.  Please note there are only seven performances on sale to the general public this week.
  • MONDAY, JULY 8 – SUNDAY, JULY 21: Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 PM. Matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 PM.

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