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Thursday, 30 May 2013 17:05

MCC Theater's REASONS TO BE HAPPY Starring Jenna Fischer Extends Due to Popular Demand

MCC THEATER EXTENDS

NEIL LABUTE’S

R E A S O N S   T O   B E   H A P P Y

AHEAD OF OPENING NIGHT
DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND

LESLIE BIBB, JENNA FISCHER,
JOSH HAMILTON & FRED WELLER
STAR IN THIS WORLD PREMIERE

DIRECTED BY NEIL LABUTE

PRODUCTION PHOTOS NOW AVAILABLE
OPENING NIGHT SET FOR JUNE 11, 2013

New York, NY – MCC THEATER (Robert LuPone, Bernard Telsey, William Cantler, Artistic Directors; Blake West, Executive Director) is pleased to announce that the world premiere of MCC Playwright-in-Residence Neil LaBute’s new play, Reasons to Be Happy, also directed by LaBute, will now extend through Saturday, June 29th.  It was previously scheduled through June 23rd.  For the additional performances only, the schedule will be: June 25th – June 26th at 7PM, June 27th - June 28th at 8PM, and June 29th at 2 and 8.  Reasons to Be Happy is a companion piece to LaBute’s critically-acclaimed award-winning play, Reasons to Be Pretty, first produced at MCC Theater in 2008 before moving to Broadway where it was nominated for three 2009 Tony Awards, including Best Play.  Performances began at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street, NYC) on May 16, 2013An official opening is set for June 11, 2013.  Tickets are now on sale.

Emmy Award® nominee Jenna Fischer, making her Off-Broadway debut, joins Reasons to Be Happy as the ninth and final season of NBC’s smash hit “The Office” comes to a close.  Also making her Off-Broadway debut is Leslie Bibb, who has appeared in films such as Iron Man and Talladega Nights and on television in ABC’s “GCB” and The CW’s “Popular,” among many others. Both are join by stage veteran Josh Hamilton, who has appeared on Broadway in the Tony Award®-winning hits The Coast of Utopia and Proof; and Fred Weller, an MCC alum who also starred on Broadway in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Take Me Out as well as acclaimed revivals of Edward Albee’s Seascape and David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross.

In a previously-released joint statement, the MCC Artistic Directors said, “Our 10-year relationship with Neil LaBute has been one of our proudest collaborations because the process is always so invigorating and the result has always stirred our audience and triggered such rich conversation and debate.  We are especially thrilled that Neil is directing his dazzling new play for MCC audiences.  He has assembled an ideal cast and an impeccable creative team for what we know will be an extraordinary cap to what has been a very exciting 2012-13 season for us.”

LaBute’s Reasons to Be Happy begins three years after a contentious break-up, with Steph and Greg wondering if they can make a fresh go of it.  Trouble is, she’s married to someone else and he’s just embarked on a relationship with Steph’s best friend, Carly, a single mom whose jealous ex-husband, Kent, has trouble articulating his feelings – navigating the rocky landscape of conflicting agendas and exploding emotions isn’t going to be easy for any of them.  Reasons to Be Happy is a funny, surprising, and poignant new play about the choices and sacrifices we are willing to make in the pursuit of that often elusive ideal: happiness.

Prolific playwright and filmmaker Neil LaBute is the author of the renowned plays The Shape of Things, Fat Pig, and Reasons to Be Pretty, the latter of which served as his Broadway debut in 2009, for which he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Play.  On stage, he previously directed his plays The Mercy Seat, Wrecks, and The Shape of Things.  For film, LaBute wrote and directed the Cannes Palme d’Or finalist Nurse Betty, Your Friends & Neighbors, The Shape of Things, and In the Company of Men, for which he won the Independent Spirit Award and New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best First Feature.  He also directed the hit dark comedy Death at a Funeral.  LaBute is currently the Playwright-in-Residence at MCC Theater.  This year marks the 10th anniversary of his relationship with MCC, with whom he has collaborated on 7 full-length plays.

Reasons to Be Happy features set design by Neil Patel of Broadway’s Side Man; costume design by Sarah Holden, who also designed LaBute’s reasons to be pretty; lighting design by Ben Stanton, who won the Lortel Award for The Whipping Man; and sound design by Robert Kaplowitz, who won a Tony Award® for his design of Fela.

                                      

All performances of Reasons to Be Happy will offer $25 Under 30 seating, with Rush seats available two hours prior to each curtain, pending availability, for $25 to patrons 29 years old or younger on the day of the performance.  Advanced $25 Under 30 seating is also offered online for each performance, with tickets available for pick-up at will call with valid ID.  One ticket per ID.  No exceptions.  Additionally, $20 Student Rush tickets for full-time high school and college students, 20 minutes before curtain (cash only) with valid ID.  General tickets are $69-$89 and are available by visiting www.mcctheater.org or calling 212-352-3101.

MCC Theater – founded in 1986 as Manhattan Class Company – is committed to developing and producing new work that challenges artists and rewards audiences.  Our mission is carried out through an annual season of world, American, and New York premieres, literary development programs for emerging writers, and ground-breaking education programs that enable more than 1,000 New York City high school students to find - and use - their own unique voice each year through the creation and performance of original theater pieces.  Notable MCC Theater highlights include: the New York premiere of The Other Place starring Laurie Metcalf (which recently had a celebrated run on Broadway); the 2008 Tony Award-nominated Reasons to Be Pretty by Neil LaBute, The Pride, Fifty Words, the 2004 Tony-winning production of Bryony Lavery’s Frozen, Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig,Rebecca Gilman’s The Glory of Living, Marsha Norman’s Trudy Blue, Margaret Edson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Wit, Tim Blake Nelson’s The Grey Zone, Alan Bowne’s Beirut, The Submission, winner of the inaugural Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award for new American plays, and last season’s newly reworked and fully re-imagined production of Carrie, the musical.  Over the years, the dedication to the work of new and emerging artists has earned MCC Theater a variety of awards.

For a complete production history, visit www.mcctheater.org.

BIOGRAPHIES

LESLIE BIBB – Leslie Bibb most recently starred as Amanda Vaughn in the ABC series “GCB” opposite Kristin Chenoweth and made her first splash on television on The CW’s “Popular.”  For film, she has appeared in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby with Will Ferrell, the worldwide blockbusters Iron Man and Iron Man 2, Zookeeper with Kevin James, Law Abiding Citizen with Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler, Confessions of a Shopaholic, the hit indie Wristcutters: A Love Story, Miss Nobody, No Good Dead, 7500, and Hell Baby.   For the stage, Leslie recently appeared at Williamstown Theatre Festival in Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers. 

JENNA FISCHER - For eight seasons, Jenna Fischer has won rave reviews from fans and critics for her role as Pam Beesley on NBC’s hit comedy “The Office,” alongside Steve Carrell, John Krasinski, and Rainn Wilson.  In 2007, the role earned Fischer her first Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Fischer is currently appearing in the series’ ninth and final season.  Fischer was recently seen in Lee Kirk’s The Giant Mechanical Man, which she also produced, opposite Topher Grace. Before that she starred in Michael Weithorn’s A Little Help, alongside Chris O’Donnell and Rob Benedict. Other film credits the Farrelly Brothers’ Hall Pass with Christina Applegate, Owen Wilson, and Jason Sudeikis; Brian Koppelman’s Solitary Man, alongside Michael Douglas, Susan Sarandon, Danny DeVito, and Mary Louise Parker; Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story with John C. Reilly; and the Dreamworks figure skating comedy Blades of Glory, opposite Jon Heder, Will Ferrell, and Amy Poehler. Her onscreen debut was in 1998’s Born Champion.  She will next be seen on the big screen in Jeff Probst’s Kiss Me with Emily Osment, Sarah Bolger, John Corbett, and Rita Wilson. The film tells the story of a teenager diagnosed with scoliosis as she navigates through her formative years.  In 2004, the Screen Actors Guild awarded Fischer with the Emerging Actor Award at the St. Louis Film Festival.  Fischer was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. She currently resides in Los Angeles.

JOSH HAMILTON - Josh Hamilton's films include  Noah Baumbach's Kicking and Screaming and his upcoming Francis Ha.  Scott Stewart's Dark Skies, Clint Eastwood's  J. Edgar, Sam Mende's Away We Go, Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret, Outsourced, Broken English, Diggers, The F Word, The House of Yes, Alive, and upcoming: Bottled Up with Melissa Leo (Tribeca Film Fest 2013), The Wait (SXSW 2013) and The Letter with Winona Ryder and James Franco. Recent TV appearances include “Louie,” “The Good Wife,” “Necessary Roughness,” and “Elementary.”  A longtime veteran of the New York  stage, he recently  appeared on Broadway with Katie Holmes in Dead Accounts. Other productions include The Coast of Utopia at Lincoln Center, Proof on Broadway, three plays by Kenneth Lonergan: This is Our Youth, The Waverly Gallery, and The Medieval Play. The Cherry Orchard with John Turturro and Dianne Wiest, Three Sisters with Maggie Gyllanhall and Peter Saarsgard, A Doll's House with Lily Rabe, A Lie of the Mind directed by Ethan Hawke, The Bridge Project directed by Sam Mendes, Hurlyburly with Ethan Hawke and Bobby Cannavale, Things We Want with Peter Dinklage and Paul Dano, The Cider House Rules, As Bees in Honey Drown, and Suburbia.

FRED WELLER - Fred Weller received an Ensemble Drama Desk Award for his work in the Tony® Award-winning Broadway revival of Glengarry Glen Ross; a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for the Off-Broadway production of Neil Labute’s The Shape of Things; a Drama Desk Award nomination for his appearance as Shane Mungitt in the Tony Award-winning play Take Me Out; another Drama Desk Award nomination for his work in Terrence McNally’s Drama Desk-nominated play Some Men; and an Ensemble Obie Award for the Off-Broadway production of Curtains.  Weller has also played lead roles in many successful independent films, including Neil Labute’s The Shape of Things (with Paul Rudd and Rachel Weisz), James Tobak’s When Will I Be Loved (opposite Neve Campbell) and The Business of Strangers (with Stockard Channing and Julia Stiles).  Most recently, Fred Weller starred in the USA Network original series “In Plain Sight.”  Currently, he can be seen recurring on CBS’s hit drama “The Good Wife.”

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