THE POWER OF DUFF, Starring David Wilson Barnes and Jennifer Westfeldt, to Begin 10/11 at Huntington Theatre
David Wilson Barnes (Becky Shaw at Second Stage Theatre and London'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 huntingtontheatre.org/peter-duff.
"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."
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
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.