The production officially opens on April 10 at the American Airlines Theatre.

By: Mar. 18, 2022
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Birthday Candles

Birthday Candles begins previews tonight, March 18, ahead of its official opening on April 10 at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway (227 West 42nd Street).

Debra Messing (Will & Grace) returns to the stage as Ernestine Ashworth, who spends her 17th birthday agonizing over her insignificance in the universe. Soon enough, it's her 18th birthday. Even sooner, her 41st. Her 70th. Her 101st. Five generations, dozens of goldfish, an infinity of dreams, one cake baked over a century. What makes a lifetime...into a life? Noah Haidle makes his Broadway debut with a poignant new play as fearless in scope as it is tremendous in heart.

Meet the cast below!

Birthday CandlesDebra Messing (Ernestine)

Debra Messing is an Emmy Award-winning actress, producer, and social justice & human rights advocate.

She is best known for her Emmy & SAG Award-winning role as "Grace Adler" on NBC's Emmy Award-winning comedy series "Will & Grace," and starred in "The Mysteries of Laura," and "SMASH," both on NBC. Notable film credits include the award-winning "Searching," "Along Came Polly," "The Wedding Date" "Nothing Like The Holidays," "The Women," and most recently, "The Dark Divide." Messing has been honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Women In Film's Lucy Award, The Gracie Allen Award, American Comedy Award, among 50 more nominations.

This Spring, Messing will return to Broadway to star in Noah Haidle's new play, "Birthday Candles." She last starred on Broadway in John Patrick Shanley's Tony Award-nominated, "Outside Mullingar." She will next be seen in the feature film adaptation of the Broadway musical, "13," from the producer of "Chicago."

Messing is the Global Health Ambassador for PSI focusing on HIV/AIDS, and has traveled extensively in Africa in support of the organization. She has testified before the House Foreign Affairs sub-committee on Africa and Global Health and spoke at the International AIDS conference. Messing supports the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Moms Demand Action, ERA Coalition, ACLU, ADL, Times Up, The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Marley's Mutts, amongst many other organizations. She has been honored by the HRC as one of the world's greatest supporters of the LGBTQ+ community both on screen and off screen, and by The Trevor Project with The Trevor Life Award in recognition of her contributions to the LGBTQ+ community. Messing is also a founding member of the nonpartisan civic engagement organization, i am a voter, and co-hosted the activism-focused podcast, "The Dissenters," which spotlighted 22 individuals who have made an impact.

Birthday CandlesJohn Earl Jelks (Matt/William)

John can be seen in this season of the HBO Max series "Love Life." In theater, John starred in Head of Passes at the Mark Taper Forum, reprising the role he originated alongside Phylicia Rashad and others in The Public Theater's production of the piece in 2016. John also appeared on Broadway in the critically acclaimed play Sweat by Lynn Nottage, which won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In 2007, John received a Tony Award nomination for "Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play" for his work in August Wilson's Radio Golf and made his first Broadway performance in August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean. Additional film and television credits include Spike Lee's "Miracle at St. Anna," "Night Comes On," Showtime's "On Becoming a God in Centra Florida," Netlix's "The I-Land," HBO's "True Detective," Paramount+'s "The Good Fight," "Blue Bloods" and NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

Birthday CandlesSusannah Flood (Alice/Madeline/Ernie)

Broadway: The Cherry Orchard (Roundabout). Select Off-Broadway: Make Believe (Second Stage); Will Arbery's Plano (Clubbed Thumb); The Effect, Tribes (Barrow Street); Ivo von Hove's Scenes From A Marriage, Love & Information (NYTW); Mr. Burns (Playwrights Horizons); The Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise (PlayCo); Fulfillment (The Flea); As You Like It (The Public/NYSF), Bird in the Hand (Fulcrum); and Baby Scream Miracle, also for Clubbed Thumb, where she is an affiliated artist. On TV, Susannah played fan favorite Kate Littlejohn on "For The People" (ABC/Shondaland); she's also appeared on "Law & Order: SVU", "Chicago Fire", "Deadbeat"; Mary Laws' "Daylight Daycare" (Annapurna for Hulu) and will appear on Amy Schumer's upcoming "Life & Beth" (Hulu). You can hear her on the radio as Laeticia Saltier in Julian Koster's The Orbiting Human Circus (of the Air) (Night Vale Presents/WNYC). BA: UC Berkeley. MFA: Brown/Trinity. Go Bears

Birthday CandlesEnrico Colantoni (Kenneth)

Enrico continues to distinguish himself as an actor who consistently showcases his talent in the world of film and television. Most recently he co-starred in HBO Max's acclaimed drama series Station Eleven, based on the bestseller. He also appeared as Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the Nat Geo limited series, The Hot Zone: Anthrax and the family dance drama Feel The Beat for Netflix. In 2019, he starred in some high-profile projects, reprising his original role as Keith Mars, father of the title character Veronica Mars, in Hulu's mega popular revival series. Then, he appeared as Bill Isler, former President & CEO of The Mr. (Fred) Rogers Company opposite Tom Hanks in the award-winning Sony feature, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. He has also created some iconic roles including Mathesar, leader of the Thermians in the sci-fi comedy hit Galaxy Quest, and womanizing photographer Elliot DiMauro in the long-running NBC sitcom "Just Shoot Me." Colantoni received a 2019 Canadian Screen Award nomination for Guest Actor/Drama in "Travelers," and has recently appeared in series like "Ghosts," "The Good Fight," "Madam Secretary," "iZombie," "Hot in Cleveland," "Warehouse 13" and "American Gothic." He also starred on the CBS series "Flashpoint," the telefilm "House of Versace," Tom Hanks' produced miniseries "The Kennedy's," (where he portrayed J. Edgar Hoover) and "Bad Blood," the six-part Netflix series based on the best-selling book Business of Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto's Last War. On the big screen, he has appeared in films such as Kill Chain opposite Nicolas Cage, Stigmata opposite Patricia Arquette, Steven Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence and the Stephen Soderbergh thrilled Contagion - which reunited him with his Full Frontal director. Colantoni has also enjoyed success as a writer/director with two short films - The Bike and Issues - the latter of which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. He also directed two episodes of "iZombie" after appearing on the show. Colantoni has an illustrious theatre background as well, after graduating from the Yale School of Drama, where he received their prestigious Carol Dye Award. His theatre credits include the premiere Neil LaBute's The Distance from Here at the Almeida in London, The Merry Wives of Windsor at the New York Shakespeare Festival's Delacorte Theater in Central Park, Arabian Nights at the Manhattan Theatre Club, The Triumph of Love at the Guthrie Theatre and Dracula at San Diego's famed Old Globe Theatre. He also played the title role in Shakespeare's Macbeth at the Matrix Theater and Uncle Vanya at the Lillian Theatre in Los Angeles. Born in Toronto to Italian immigrant workers, Colantoni remains loyal to his roots as an avid fan of both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Italian food. During his time on "Flashpoint," he became very involved with the stories of first responders and has given his time to the cause, including working with the charity Heroes Are Human, which helped & educated those everyday heroes in dealing with PTSD. He also produced a documentary called The Other Side of the Hero about the same topic.

Birthday CandlesCrystal Finn (Joan/Alex/Beth)

Broadway debut. Also at Roundabout: Bobbie Clearly and Kingdom Come. New York: Playwright's Horizons, Manhattan Theater Club, The Play Company, 59E59, Fulcrum, The Pool, and seven seasons with Clubbed Thumb where she is an affiliated artist. Recent productions there include Plano, by Will Arbery and King Phillips Head by Daniel Glenn. As a writer Crystal's play The Faire was produced off-Broadway with Fault Line Theater. She performed her one woman show Becoming Liv Ullmann at NY Fringe and also at the Cleveland Playhouse New Ground Theater Festival. Currently her play Ms. Lily is being directed by Josiah Davis for Clubbed Thumb's Winterworks. BA: UC Berkeley. MFA: Brown/Trinity.

Birthday CandlesChristopher Livingston (Billy/John)

Christopher was last seen in The Great Society on Broadway and playing Wayne Williams on the Netflix series Mindhunter. At Roundabout Underground he played Joey in Something Clean. Other New York credits include On the Grounds of Belonging, Party People, and The Urban Retreat at The Public Theater. He was also seen in Wilder Gone in Clubbed Thumb's Summer Works, Julius Caesar at the Delacorte, Peerless at Cherry Lane and The Architecture of Becoming with Women's Project. Select regional theaters include The Williamstown Theatre Festival, Long Wharf, The McCarter, A.C.T., Yale Rep., Berkeley Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Portland Center Stage and The Virginia Stage Company. Upcoming television: WeCrashed (Apple Tv+) and I Need Space (The New Group Off Stage). Christopher received his BFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.

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Next On Stage


BIRTHDAY CANDLES Begins Final Two Weeks Photo
BIRTHDAY CANDLES Begins Final Two Weeks

Roundabout Theatre Company will conclude the New York premiere of Birthday Candles by Noah Haidle, starring Emmy Award winner Debra Messing, directed by Vivienne Benesch on Sunday, May 29.

VIDEO: Debra Messing on Baking a Cake Onstage During BIRTHDAY CANDLES Photo
VIDEO: Debra Messing on Baking a Cake Onstage During BIRTHDAY CANDLES

Debra Messing sat down with Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest this morning to discuss her current Broadway run in Birthday Candles. She discusses the plot of the play and how her character bakes a real cake onstage during every performance. Watch the new interview now!

VIDEO: Go Inside Opening Night of BIRTHDAY CANDLES Photo
VIDEO: Go Inside Opening Night of BIRTHDAY CANDLES

Just last night, Roundabout Theatre Company New York premiere of Birthday Candles by Noah Haidle, starring Emmy Award winner Debra Messing, directed by Vivienne Benesch, celebrated opening night at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway (227 West 42nd Street). This is a limited engagement through Sunday, May 29, 2022.

Manhole Explosions Cause Panic at BIRTHDAY CANDLES Opening Night Photo
Manhole Explosions Cause Panic at BIRTHDAY CANDLES Opening Night

Yesterday, Sunday, April 10, manhole cover explosions in Times Square caused panic among tourists and the exiting opening night audience of Broadway's Birthday Candles.



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