On Sunday, Judith Light won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in THE ASSEMBLED PARTIES. Light became the first actor in almost 20 years to receive back to back Tony Awards. Previous actors who have achieved that milestone include Stephen Spinella (Tony Awards in 1993 & 1994 for Angels in America) and Gwen Verdon (Tony Awards in 1958 & 1959 for New Girl in Town and Redhead).
THE ASSEMBLED PARTIES must close on July 28 due to previously planned technical renovations taking place at the Friedman before the start of the 2013-2014 theatrical season. When it closes, THE ASSEMBLED PARTIES will be the longest-running show in MTC’s 10-year history at the Friedman, eclipsing the runs of past hits including Venus in Fur, Good People, Time Stands Still, and Rabbit Hole.
Jeremy Shamos will depart the production on July 7. His replacement will be announced shortly.
THE ASSEMBLED PARTIES began previews on Thursday, March 21 and opened on Wednesday, April 17 to rave reviews. Below is a sampling of what critics said about the production:
“There are tales, still told by the old ones of Broadway, of a time when Charm — with a capital C — was a cardinal virtue in the theater. It was an attribute that made plain actresses beautiful, and turned short, stocky men into matinee idols. Entire plays, it is said, were written in celebration of those who possessed this enviable trait, works filled with airy, tickling dialogue and the accouterments of tasteful wealth.
To my great surprise, a brand-new version of such a play has materialized at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater, and it is, in a word, charming. It is also smart, sad and so impossibly well-spoken you may feel like giving up on conversation. It is called The Assembled Parties, written by Richard Greenberg and featuring a leading lady, Jessica Hecht, who is charm — I mean, Charm — incarnate. Judith Light proves herself a first-class interpreter of the woeful but witty Jewish matron, while Jeremy Shamos is a perfect blend of awe and anxiety. Directed with loving care by Lynne Meadow, this is an old-fashioned play that ruefully knows that its time has passed and, moreover, why it’s passed.”
- Ben Brantley, The New York Times
“The latest work by playwright Richard Greenberg is a beautiful and touching look at the inner workings of a well-to-do family, their mistakes and the stories that bind them. The Manhattan Theatre Club's world premiere stars a luminous Jessica Hecht, a super Judith Light, and a superb Jeremy Shamos. Lynne Meadow directs with superb skill, keeping the tension rising while allowing the actors all the room to show their gifts. There are few more poignant scenes than the play's final one, in which wistfulness and hope collide, thanks to some superb acting and writing.”
- Mark Kennedy, Associated Press
“Rarely has there been an intermission so cruel as the one between the acts of The Assembled Parties, Richard Greenberg’s excellent new play at the Manhattan Theater Club. During those fifteen minutes, twenty years pass, and the altered reality on which the curtain rises when the audience has resettled may hit you like a punch to the heart. The Assembled Parties is Greenberg’s most richly emotional work in years, and the most beautifully detailed. Director, Lynne Meadow has given it a top-drawer mounting. Santo Loquasto’s set helpfully revolves and revolves so we can see every inch of its good taste, Peter Kaczorowski plies his ambermost gels, and Jane Greenwood surpasses herself with Julie’s exquisite outfits.”
- Jesse Green, New York Magazine
"The Assembled Parties has been lovingly directed by Lynne Meadow and cast with such experts of emotional nuance as Judith Light and Jessica Hecht and the gently powerful Jeremy Shamos shocks us into realizing how hungry we have been for witty and wounded grown-ups who toss off gorgeously written observations. Parties should be assembled for this vibrant, touching play.”
- Linda Winer, Newsday
“Richard Greenberg’s lovely play, which is as knowingly self-aware of being a Broadway representation of New York as a vintage Woody Allen film is in the way it portrays the city onscreen. Almost everyone is hyper-articulate. They open their mouths and ready-made witticisms, literary references or wry views on history and politics come tumbling forth. Basically, it’s like Aaron Sorkin meets Neil Simon. But itscleverness is supported by a foundation of warmth, sensitivity, even delicacy that makes this funny-sad comedy as unexpectedly affecting as it is entertaining. Lynne Meadow’s expertly gauged production has just the right feel for its shifting rhythms features the wonderful anchoring performances of Jessica Hecht and Judith Light, both of them rich in complex humanity. Watching Light soften, still retaining that core strength even while sitting straight-backed in silent tears, is intensely moving. Hecht’s delivery of an exquisite monologue is wrenching and beautiful. In the play’s closing stretch, the performance becomes one of such porcelain fragility you almost fear Hecht might shatter before your eyes.”
- David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
THE ASSEMBLED PARTIES features Tony nominee Jessica Hecht, Tony and Emmy Award winner Judith Light, Tony Award nominee Jeremy Shamos, Obie Award winner Mark Blum, Lauren Blumenfeld (We Are Proud to Present…), Alex Dreier (Billy Elliot), Jake Silbermann (“As The World Turns”), and Jonathan Walker (The Divine Sister).
THE ASSEMBLED PARTIES welcomes us to the world of the Bascovs, an Upper West Side Jewish family in 1980. In a sprawling Central Park West apartment, former movie star Julie Bascov (Tony Award nominee Jessica Hecht) and her sister-in-law Faye (Tony and Emmy Award winner Judith Light) bring their families together for their traditional holiday dinner. But tonight, things are not usual. A house guest (Tony nominee Jeremy Shamos) has joined the festivities for the first time and he unwittingly – or perhaps by design – insinuates himself into the family drama. Twenty years later, as 2001 approaches, the Bascovs’ seemingly picture-perfect life may be about to crumble. A stunning new play infused with humor, THE ASSEMBLED PARTIES is an incisive portrait of a family grasping for stability at the dawn of a new millennium.
Greenberg returnsto MTC following the acclaimed Broadway revival of his play The American Plan. MTC’s collaboration with Greenberg spans 20 years and has seen the New York premieres of such lauded works as The Violet Hour, Three Days of Rain, and Eastern Standard. This production marks MTC’s 10th collaboration with Greenberg.
The creative team for THE ASSEMBLED PARTIES includes: Santo Loquasto (scenic design), Jane Greenwood (costume design), Peter Kaczorowski (lighting design), Obadiah Eaves (original music & sound design), and Tom Watson (hair & wig design).
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 19 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 two Off-Broadway theatres at New York City Center (131 West 55th Street). 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.’
For more information on MTC, please visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.
Tickets for THE ASSEMBLED PARTIES are available by calling Telecharge at 212-239-6200, online by visiting www.Telecharge.com, or by visiting the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre Box Office (261 West 47th Street). Ticket prices are $67 – $147.
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