Metropolitan Playhouse Adds Performances for O'NEILL (UNEXPECTED)

By: Jun. 17, 2016

Owing to the popularity of this double bill, Metropolitan Playhouse is adding two performances in the final week of June to the run of O'NEILL (UNEXPECTED).

Obie Award winning Metropolitan Playhouse revives two early plays by Eugene O'Neill: Recklessness and Now I Ask You. Neither produced in his lifetime, and neither ever produced in New York, the plays will be staged on a double bill, directed by Artistic Director, Alex Roe, at the Playhouse: 220 E 4th Street, New York City.

New Closing Date: Closing 6/30/16

Tickets are $25 general; $20 students/seniors; $10 children, and may be purchased online at or by telephone at 800 838 3006

RECKLESSNESS (1913) follows the ingenious and cold-blooded revenge of a cuckolded husband when he discovers his younger wife's affair with his chauffeur. An American "Miss Julie" with a Hitchcockian twist, the play foreshadows O'Neill's doomed lovers and tormented spouses yearning for freedom, even to the point of death.
NOW I ASK YOU (1916) satirizes young Bohemian aspiration and suburban bourgeois complacency with witty one-liners and increasingly convoluted misunderstandings. Forward thinking Lucy Ashleigh, who claims her "ego demands freedom," weds Tom Drayton on condition that they commit to free love: they are bound only by their whim and affection, and at liberty to do as they please with whomever they please. Tom's calculated indulgence leads them both to deep, if insincere flirtations with two colorful, pretentious artists, but mutual jealousy and pride overwhelm the tangled relationships, racing to an hysterical, near-tragic conclusion. "Now I Ask You" is another look at the complications of marriage and family, but beguilingly comical, mocking the very yearnings O'Neill champions in other work, and adding undertones of Ibsen.

To many the father of modern American drama, EUGENE O'NEILL spoke to a volatile age from his recognition by the Provincetown Players in 1916, through his many Broadway triumphs. His works dominate the American canon, and include four Pulitzer Prize winners: Beyond the Horizon (1920), Anna Christie (1922), Strange Interlude (1928), and the posthumously produced Long Day's Journey Into Night (1941). The first American playwright ever so honored, he earned the Nobel Prize for literature in 1936.
The details of his eventful personal life often appear transfigured in his work. He was raised in a touring theater family, his father the grandiose matinee idol James O'Neill, his mother the fragile (and morphine addicted) Mary Ellen Quinlan. His brother Edmund died of measles at two, while his older brother, Jamie, was occasionally employed as an actor, but died of complications of alcoholism at the age of 45. Eugene himself began adulthood by dropping out of Princeton and into the life of a seafarer, stopping in Buenos Aires, Liverpool, and New York. He held jobs that varied from secretary to gold prospector to draughtsman to mule tender to newspaper reporter. He abused alcohol, contracted tuberculosis, and nearly took his own life, but on recovery through a sanitarium in 1913, he began writing plays.
He was married three times, and he fathered three children
A prolific writer, in addition to his 26 mostly shorter works before 1920, which include the breakthrough Bound East for Cardiff and Beyond the Horizon, he wrote over 20 full-length plays between 1920 and 1943, though his most ambitious project was never completed. This was a cycle of 11 plays, to be performed on 11 consecutive nights, following an American family over two centuries. A Touch of the Poet was the only play he completed of that cycle, while More Stately Mansions was a rough draft of a second, and both were published and performed after his death.
His final years were afflicted by a tremor that rendered him unable to hold pencil and paper. He died in a Boston hotel room in 1953.

O'NEILL (UNEXPECTED) is directed by ALEX ROE, Artistic Director of Metropolitan Playhouse and leader of numerous NYIT Award-nominated productions. The production stars, in "Recklessness": ERIN BEIRNARD (Storm Theatre, Irondale Ensemble), EDEN EPSTEIN (The Awful Truth); KELLY KING (Both Your Houses, Icebound, The Henrietta, The House of Mirth); and JEREMY RUSSIAL (Pecadillo Theater); In "Now I Ask You" EMILY BENNETT (Aquila Theatre Co, The Kitchen); DYLAN BROWN (Majestic Theater); KIM YANCEY MOORE ("A Raisin in the Sun," with Danny Glover at Roundabout; "Walk Hard" at Metropoiltan); DAVID MURRAY JAFFE; ERIC R. WILLIAMS (The Public Theater, Dreamgirls National Tour); TERRELL WHEELER (National Black Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre). Set design is by ALEX ROE. Lighting by CHRISTOPHER WESTON (The Awful Truth, Injunction Granted). Costumes by NYIT Award winner SIDNEY FORTNER (Walk Hard, Alison's House, The House of Mirth, et al). Stage Manager is HEATHER OLMSTEAD.

METROPOLITAN PLAYHOUSE, now its 24th season, devoted to Hope, explores America's theatrical heritage through forgotten plays of the past and new plays of American historical and cultural moment. The theater received a 2011 OBIE Grant from The Village Voice for its ongoing productions that illuminate who we are by revealing where we have come from. Called an "indispensable East Village institution" by and "invaluable" by Back Stage, Metropolitan has earned accolades from The New York Times, The Village Voice, and The New Yorker. Other awards include Outstanding Performing Arts Group from the Victorian Society New York, and 18 nominations for NYIT Awards since 2010, with winners Lenore Wolf for short script, Sidney Fortner for costumes, Frank Anderson for lead actor. Recent productions include WALK HARD, ALISON'S HOUSE, THE AWFUL TRUTH, INJUNCTION GRANTED, THE MAN OF THE HOUR, ICEBOUND, WITHIN THE LAW, THE HERO, A MAN'S WORLD, BOTH YOUR HOUSES, THE HOUSE OF MIRTH
, DEEP ARE THE ROOTS, THE JAZZ SINGER, ONE-THIRD OF A NATION, UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, and DODSWORTH, as well as the Alphabet City and East Village Chronicles series.


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