The AndyGram

Saturday, Sep 24th

You are here: Home Theatre Reviews & Features 2015-16 Reviews Massachusettes Boston: THE POWER OF DUFF Begins at Huntington Theatre Company Oct 11

Boston: THE POWER OF DUFF Begins at Huntington Theatre Company Oct 11




(BOSTON) – David Wilson Barnes (Becky Shaw at Second Stage Theatre andLondon’s Almeida Theatre) plays Charlie Duff, a burnt-out local newscaster who transforms first his community and then himself when he begins praying on-air in the Huntington Theatre Company’s new production of Stephen Belber’s moving new drama The Power of Duff. Amy Pietz (“The Office,” “Caroline in the City”) plays Duff’s ex-wife Lisa, and Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein, Friends with Kids) plays Sue, Charlie’s co-anchor, in the production helmed by Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois. Performances begin on October 11 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The Power of Duff is produced in association with New York Stage and Film and Vassar’s Powerhouse Theater.

American Theatre magazine says, “Stephen Belber confronts messy reality with wit, humanity, and richly drawn characters.” In The Power of Duff, Rochester news anchor Charlie Duff (Barnes) shocks his co-anchor (Westfeldt), boss (Ben Cole), and colleague (Brendan Griffin) as he concludes the newscast with a spontaneous prayer rather than his usual send-off the night after his father dies. Yearning for connection, Charlie continues his nightly prayers despite management’s initial protestations, rapidly becoming a popular and controversial figure to an ever expanding audience. Yet in spite of the strengthening bond Charlie feels with his the subjects of his prayers and his viewers, he struggles to connect with his ex-wife (Amy Pietz) and estranged teenage son (Noah Galvin).

“Uniquely comic and unabashedly theatrical, The Power of Duff also pulses with incredible emotional clarity,” says DuBois, who reunites with Belber after staging the premiere of the play last summer at New York Stage and Film and Vassar’s Powerhouse Theatre. “In the tradition of films like About a Boy and As Good as it Gets, this poignant new play tells the transformative story of one man waking up to life, just as it seemed he was too lost and it was too late.” Hear more from DuBois about the production at

“It struck me as potentially interesting to write a play about a person who was fundamentally ambivalent about religion, even about spirituality – who underwent a transformation of sorts, which led to him finding himself in a position where he was suddenly a sort of looked-to spiritual ‘leader’ – even as that ambivalence continued,” says Belber. “I liked the question of what one should or can do when put in that position, and what one might do when faced with an almost undeniable spiritual reality taking place all around (and maybe even inside) him.”


The ensemble cast includes:

  • David Wilson Barnes (Becky Shaw at Second Stage Theatre and London’s Almeida Theatre)as Channel 10 news anchor Charles Duff;
  • Ben Cole (One Slight Hitch at Williamstown Theatre Festival ) as news director Scott Zoellner;
  • Noah Galvin (Burnt Part Boys at Playwrights Horizons) as Ricky, Charlie’s estranged teenage son;
  • Brendan Griffin (Clybourne Park on Broadway) as John Ebbs, the station’s jovial sportscaster;
  • Russell G. Jones (Obie Award winner for Ruined at Manhattan Theatre Club, The Power of Duff at New York Stage and Film and Vassar’s Powerhouse Theater) as Joseph Andango, a man for whom Charlie prays;
  • Joe Paulik (Twelfth Night at Hartford Stage) as field reporter Ron Kirkpatrick and others;
  • Amy Pietz (“The Office,” “Caroline in the City”) as Charlie’s ex-wife Lisa; and
  • Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein, Friends with Kids, The Power of Duff at New York Stage and Film and Vassar’s Powerhouse Theater) as news anchor Sue Raspell.

Stephen Belber (Playwright) has been produced on Broadway and in over 25 countries. The Huntington previously produced his play Carol Mulroney. Other works include Match (Tony Award nomination for Frank Langella), Don’t Go Gentle (MCC), Dusk Rings a Bell (Atlantic Theater Company), Tape (Naked Angels NY/LA/London), McReele (Roundabout Theater Company), A Small, Melodramatic Story (Labyrinth Theater Company), Geometry of Fire, (NYSAF/Rattlestick), Fault Lines (NYSAF/Naked Angels), and One Million Butterflies (Primary Stages). He was an associate writer of The Laramie Project (Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Award nominations) and a co-writer on The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later. His films include Tape (dir. Richard Linklater), The Laramie Project (associate writer/Emmy Award nomination for screenwriting), Drifting Elegant, and Management, which he also directed, starring Jennifer Aniston, Woody Harrelson, and Steve Zahn. Television credits include “Rescue Me” and “Law and Order: SVU.”

Peter DuBois (Director) is in his sixth season as Artistic Director at the Huntington where his directing credits include the world premieres of Evan M. Wiener’s Captors, Stephen Karam’s Sons of the Prophet, Bob Glaudini’s Vengeance is the Lord’s, David Grimm’s The Miracle at Naples, the regional premieres of Gina Gionfriddo’s Becky Shaw and Rapture, Blister, Burn, and Craig Lucas’ Prelude to a Kiss. In the 2013-2014 Season he will direct the regional premiere of Stephen Belber’s The Power of Duff and the world premiere of Huntington Playwriting Fellow Lydia R. Diamond’s Smart People. His West End/London credits include All New People with Zach Braff (Duke of York’s Theatre) and Becky Shaw (Almeida Theatre). His New York credits include Sons of the Prophet (Roundabout Theater Company; Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play); Rapture, Blister, Burn (Playwrights Horizons); Modern Terrorism, Becky Shaw, Trust with Sutton Foster, and All New People (Second Stage Theater); Measure for Pleasure, Richard III with Peter Dinklage, Mom How Did You Meet the Beatles, and Biro (Public Theater/NYSF); Jack Goes Boating with Philip Seymour Hoffman and The View From 151st Street (LAByrinth Theater Company/Public Theater); and The Power of Duff with Greg Kinnear (Powerhouse Theater). Regional US and UK credits include productions at American Conservatory Theater, Trinity Repertory Company, Humana Festival of New Plays, Manchester Opera House, and Kings Theater Glasgow. He previously served as associate producer and resident director at The Public Theater and artistic director of the Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska. Prior, Mr. DuBois lived and worked in the Czech Republic where he co-founded Asylum, a multi-national squat theatre in Prague. His productions have been on the annual top ten lists of The New York Times, Time Out, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, Newsday, Variety, Entertainment Weekly, The Evening Standard, and Improper Bostonian.

Scenic design by David Rockwell(Tony Award nominee for Kinky Boots and Lucky Guy); costume design by Bobby Frederick Tilley II (Sons of the Prophet at the Huntington and Roundabout Theatre Company); lighting design by Rui Rita (The Miracle at Naples); sound design by M.L. Dogg (Rapture, Blister, Burn and Sons of the Prophet at the Huntington); and projection design by Aaron Rhyne (Water by the Spoonful at Second Stage Theatre, The Power of Duff at Powerhouse Theatre). Production stage manager is Lori Ann Zepp. Stage manager is Candice D. Mongellow.


  • Grand Patron: Boston University
  • Season Sponsors: J. David Wimberly, Carol G. Deane
  • Production Partners: SenovvA Inc. and High Output


Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award and named Best of Boston 2013 by Boston magazine, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston’s leading professional theatre and one of the region’s premiere cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso and in residence at Boston University, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit

#                             #                             #




October 11 – November 16, 2013

                Evenings: Tues. – Thurs. at 7:30pm; Fri. – Sat. at 8pm; select Sun. at 7pm
                Matinees: Select Wed., Sat., and Sun. at 2pm
                Days and times vary; see complete schedule below.

South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont Street, Boston



Single tickets starting at $25 and FlexPasses are on sale:

  • online at;
  • by phone at 617 266 0800; or
  • in person at the BU Theatre Box Office, 264 Huntington Ave. and the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA Box Office, 527 Tremont St. in Boston’s South End.

Select discounts apply:

                $5 off: seniors
                $10 off: subscribers and BU community (faculty/staff/alumni)
                $25 “35 Below” tickets for patrons 35 years old and younger (valid ID required)
                $15 student and military tickets (valid ID required)

  Duff 1-up calendar

Post-Show Audience Conversations
Led by members of the Huntington staff. After most Tuesday - Friday, Saturday matinee, and Sunday matinee performances throughout the season. Free with a ticket to the performance.

Actors Forum
Participating cast members answer questions from the audience.

Student Matinee
For students in grades 8-12. Contact Meg O’Brien at 617 273 1558 for tickets. Pre-show visit, curriculum guide, and post-show conversation included.

Andrew C. McGibbon



Andrew C. McGibbon has spent the past thirty years working in live theatre as a stage manager, general manager, producer and leader in the convergence of Broadway and online.

Mr. McGibbon worked as a stage manager and general manager for ten years. In 1994 he created a website devoted to live theatre, The site was subsequently bought by, and became He continued to manage the site for Playbill for four years. In 2000 he became the website manager for With the 2008-09 season he finished his ninth year on the show. He has also worked as a webmaster for the Broadway LeagueJazz at Lincoln Center, and as the Director of Digital Media for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

Since 2015, Andrew has been working as an architectural photographer and virtual tour photographer known for his photography of theatres such as the Kimmel Center, Tanglewood, Signature Theatre Company, Roundabout Theatre Company, Arena Stage and the Goodspeed Opera House. His photography work can be previewed at

Mr. McGibbon is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Independent Theatre Bloggers AssociationActors' Equity Association and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, as well as the American Society of Media Photographers

In addition to his work in the theatrical industry, Mr. McGibbon is also a partner in Simple Solutions Distributing, a manufacturer of filtration equipment for the waste-water industry.

Photo: Elizabeth Leitzell