Leslie Bibb, Jenna Fischer & Josh Hamilton to Lead MCC's REASONS TO BE HAPPY; Opens 6/11
MCC Theater (Robert LuPone, Bernard Telsey, William Cantler, Artistic Directors; Blake West, Executive Director) has just announced that Leslie Bibb (Iron Man, ABC's "GCB") and Jenna Fischer (NBC's "The Office") will be making their New York City stage debuts opposite Josh Hamilton (The Coast of Utopia) and Fred Weller (MCC's Still Life and In a Dark Dark House) in the world premiere of MCC Playwright-in-Residence Neil LaBute's new play, Reasons to be Happy, which LaBute will also direct. 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 begin at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street, NYC) on May 16, 2013 and continue through June 23, 2013. An official opening is set for June 11, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are now on sale.
In a 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."
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.
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 is currently showing Paul Downs Colaizzo's startlingly funny, booze-soaked cornucopia, Really Really (which began January 31st and is now extended through March 30th due to popular demand), which took Washington D.C. by storm last season with its acclaimed run at the Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre. Its New York premiere is directed by David Cromer, whose visionary take on Our Town floored New York audiences in 2009, and whose Tribes was one of the biggest off-Broadway hits in recent memory. Really Really begins in the hazy aftermath of a wild party, on what appears to be just another day in the undergrad carnival that revolves around a close circle of friends. But when morning after gossip about boy-next-door Davis and good girl Leigh turns ugly, the veneer of loyalty among friends is peeled back to reveal a vicious jungle of sexual politics, raw ambition, and class warfare where only the strong could possibly survive. The cast features Matt Lauria ("Friday Night Lights"), Zosia Mamet ("Girls"), Lauren Culpepper, David Hull, Evan Jonigkeit, Kobi Libii, and Aleque Reid.
MCC Theater's 2012-1013 three-play season began with the world premiere of Stephen Belber's new play Don't Go Gentle (September 27 - November 4, 2012) directed by Lucie Tiberghien, which featured a tour de force performance by Michael Cristofer ("Smash"). Joining Cristofer were David Wilson Barnes, Maxx Brawer, Angela Lewis, and Jennifer Mudge.
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.