THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN Headed for Broadway Spring 2013 Starring Estelle Parsons and Stephen Spinella
According to The Washington Post, Molly Smith, artistic director of Arena Stage has signed on to direct a production of Eric Coble's THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN on Broadway in the Spring of 2013, a production that'll mark Broadway debuts for both. Lead producer Larry Kaye has said that signed on to star will be Estelle Parsons and Stephen Spinella.
The Post also reports that "The deal is not yet a sure thing, however. “The Velocity of Autumn” still must find an available Broadway house, and the financing for the multimillion-dollar venture is not yet in place — two of the guarantors of an opening night. Kaye, a Bethesda-based producer who has invested in other Broadway shows, such as “American Idiot” and the revival of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” says he is at the beginning of the process of finding others who will put money into the venture.
Still, the retention of a major New York theater public-relations firm, The Hartman Group, and the casting of the Oscar-winning Parsons (for “Bonnie and Clyde”) and Tony-winner Spinella (for “Angels in America”) are significant steps in the project’s development. In addition to announcing Smith’s hiring, Kaye also disclosed that the design team will consist of Eugene Lee on sets, Howell Binkley on lighting, Linda Cho for costumes and Darren L. West for sound design."
The Velocity of Autumn will star Estelle Parsons as the aging artist, Alexandra and Stephen Spinella as her estranged son, Chris. Despite her children's attempts to move her into a nursing home, Alexandra is determined to spend her final years in the Brooklyn brownstone she calls home. Chris is forced back into her life after years of separation when she threatens to blow up her home in a final act of desperation.
The Velocity of Autumn had its world premiere at Boise Contemporary Theater in April 2011. Reviewers called it a "funny and touching new play...that takes you someplace real within yourself...and it leads to a sweet and satisfying resolution." The production next had its regional premiere at the Beck Center for the Arts in 2012.
Eric Coble is Cleveland's most prolific playwright having written over 40 plays for adults and children. Velocity is the third in a series of plays by Coble known as "The Alexandra Plays," a trilogy of stories about the same witty, strong-willed character in different stages of her life. The first play, A Girl's Guide to Coffee premiered last month at Actors' Summit in Akron.
ESTELLE PARSONS (Alexandra) is currently appearing on Broadway in Nice Work If You Can Get It. She recently received rave reviews for Marco Calvani's Things Of This World directed by Neil LaBute at LaMama. Recently she played Dottie in David Lindsay-Abaire's Good People at Manhattan Theater Club, the Dutch psychic in Deathtrap with Simon Russell Beale in London, after having spent a year on Broadway and a year on tour with August: Osage County. Upon her arrival in New York City from Marblehead, Massachusetts, she was one of eight people who put together the NBC Today show on national television and became the first woman to do political reporting for a television network. Ms. Parsons made her Broadway debut with Ethel Merman in Happy Hunting and proceeded with starring roles in, among others, Miss Margarida's Way which started at Joseph Papp's Public Theatre and introduced the first Brazilian playwright to Broadway. ...And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little, The Seven Descents Of Myrtle, The Norman Conquests and Morning's At Seven. She introduced Dario Fo and Franca Rame's feminist work to American audiences. She won an Academy Award for Bonnie And Clyde and was nominated for a second Oscar for Paul Newman's Rachel, Rachel. She has made thirteen other films. Jerry Herman's Nightcap launched her varied night club career. She did two Julius Monk revues at Upstairs at the Downstairs before joining Lotte Lenya in The Three Penny Opera and playing Widow Begbick in the American premiere of Mahagonny. On television, she played Roseanne's Mother on “Roseanne” for ten years. She appeared in “All In The Family,” “Archie's Place,” “The UFO Incident,” and “Empire Falls,” among others. She was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2004.
STEPHEN SPINELLA (Chris) won two Tony and two Drama Desk Awards for the original Broadway productions of Tony Kushner’s epic Angels in America plays, directed by George C. Wolfe; he was honored for playing the role of Prior Walter in both the first part (Millennium Approaches) which marked his Broadway debut and the second (Perestroika). Other Broadway credits include A View from the Bridge, Electra, James Joyce’s The Dead (Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards, Tony Nomination), Our Town and Spring Awakening. Mr. Spinella’s Off-Broadway credits include The Illusion, Love! Valour! Compassion (Obie Award), Troilus and Cressida, A Question of Mercy, The Seagull, Elle, Svejk, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, An Iliad (Lucille Lortel and Obie Awards, Drama Desk Nom) and As You Like It. His film work includes Virtuosity, The Jackal, Love! Valour! Compassion!, Great Expectations, Ravenous, Cradle Will Rock, Bubble Boy, Connie and Carla, Milk, Rubber and Steven Spielberg’s soon to be released feature Lincoln. Mr. Spinella’s TV credits include "The Education of Max Bickford", "24", "Desperate Housewives", "ER", "Alias", “Will and Grace”, “Numb3rs”, “Heroes”, “Grey’s Anatomy” and "The Mentalist". A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where he studied with Olympia Dukakis and Ron Van Lieu, Mr. Spinella also attended the University of Arizona.
ERIC COBLE (Playwright) Mr. Cobles’s plays have been produced Off-Broadway, throughout the U.S., and on several continents, including productions at The Kennedy Center, Denver Center Theatre Company, New York and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals, Alliance Theatre, The Cleveland Play House, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, South Coast Repertory, Asolo Repertory, Indiana Repertory, Coterie Theatre, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Stages Repertory, and The Contemporary American Theatre Festival. His plays include Bright Ideas (Manhattan Class Company, directed by John Rando), Natural Selection (Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival, directed by Marc Masterson), The Dead Guy, A Girl's Guide to Coffee, and The Giver. Mr. Coble has been recognized for his work with an Emmy nomination, the AT&T Onstage Award, the National Theatre Conference Playwriting Award, the AATE Distinguished Play Award for Best Adaptation, an NEA Playwright in Residence Grant, and a TCG Extended Collaboration Grant.
MOLLY SMITH (Director) has been instrumental in leading the reinvention of Arena Stage, focusing on the creation of the new Mead Center for American Theater as well as major artistic changes. Arena Stage is a center for the production, presentation, development and study of American theater. Ms. Smith has been a leader in new play development for 30 years while at Arena Stage for the past 14 years and at Perseverance Theatre in Alaska, the theater she founded and led for 19 years. She is a great believer in first, second and third productions of new work and has championed projects like Next to Normal, How I Learned to Drive and Passion Play, a cycle. Ms. Smith has directed for Arena Stage Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, How I Learned to Drive, Hot ‘N’ Throbbing, All My Sons, The Great White Hope, Coyote Builds North America, Agamemnon and His Daughters, A Moon for the Misbegotten, South Pacific, An American Daughter, Camelot, Orpheus Descending, Anna Christie, Passion Play, a cycle, Damn Yankees, Cabaret, The Women of Brewster Place, Christmas Carol 1941, Legacy of Light, Light in the Piazza, Oklahoma!, The Book Club Play, and The Music Man. She has worked alongside playwrights Sarah Ruhl, Paula Vogel, Tim Acito, Karen Zacarías, John Murrell, James Magruder, Barry Lopez and many others. Ms. Smith’s directorial work has also been seen at the Shaw Festival in Canada, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Trinity Repertory Company, Tarragon Theatre in Toronto and Centaur Theatre in Montreal.
HOP THEATRICALS (Producer) and lead producer Larry Kaye have been nominated for two Tony Awards for How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying with Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette, and for Green Day’s American Idiot. Other productions with which HOP and Mr. Kaye have been involved include Broadway’s Oleanna with Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles, and Blithe Spirit with Angela Lansbury, as well as Rooms Off-Broadway, and Pippin at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory. Upcoming projects include a Broadway revival of Beth Henley’s The Miss Firecracker Contest and the new Broadway-bound musical The Tapioca Miracle.