Mark Ruffalo and Jessica Hecht to Star in IRONWEED at BAM

IRONWEED features songs by Tom Waits, and an original score by Tamar-ka.

By: Apr. 15, 2024
Mark Ruffalo and Jessica Hecht to Star in IRONWEED at BAM
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On May 17th BAM will present IRONWEED: An Evening of Art & Humanity, based on William Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel starring four-time Academy Award nominee Mark Ruffalo and two-time Tony Award nominee Jessica Hecht, directed by Jodie Markell (Tennessee Williams’ The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond), and produced by Brad Gilbert. This preview will be an innovative mix of live performance and recorded sound, featuring scenes from the new play, IRONWEED, adapted by Kennedy and Markell, and excerpts from the soon-to-be-released audio recording of the play which delves deep into the rich voice of the novel by underscoring its poetry, humor, and heartbreak. IRONWEED features songs by Tom Waits, an original score by Tamar-kali (Mudbound) and sound design by Academy Award winner Skip Lievsay (No Country for Old Men, Roma).
The performance will be followed by a robust conversation with Ruffalo and Hecht moderated by author and The New Yorker writer, Vinson Cunningham, to discuss the timeliness of IRONWEED. They will be joined by advocates and experts to discuss the crisis of the unhoused in today’s communities. During the Great Depression, two million homeless people were migrating around America. Today more than half a million Americans are unhoused, and that number is increasing every day. The discussion will also touch upon the growing necessity for “art and humanity”—two intrinsically linked ideals that carry tremendous power to illuminate the human condition through creative expression and to nurture a healthy, functioning, interconnected society. Now, more than ever, art that empowers marginalized voices not only connects people to their own humanity, but connects people to each other’s, fostering a deeply meaningful foundation of understanding.
IRONWEED opens as All Hallow’s Eve descends upon the city of Albany in 1938. Ruffalo portrays Francis Phelan whose heartbreaking story unfolds as he returns to his hometown after living on the streets for many years. We witness his deeply personal end-of-life reckoning, his journey through purgatory, and his struggle for redemption. Hecht takes on the role of Helen Archer who once was a classical pianist studying at Vassar, but is now Francis’ loyal friend and drinking companion, accompanying him as they roam familiar haunts.
Woven into the performance are never-before-heard excerpts from the soon-to-be-released audio recording of the play. Supporting actors in the audio version include: Norbert Leo Butz, Kristine Nielsen, John Magaro, Michael Potts, David Rysdahl, Frank Wood, Katie Erbe and others. Kennedy narrates. IRONWEED the audio recording is a cinematic experience in sound that upholds the brilliance of Kennedy’s language and the voices of these timeless characters that will be heard in a new way. It is produced by the AudioFilm division of Gilbert’s Autonomy Productions and will be released fall 2024.

About Mark Ruffalo

Emmy winner and four-time Academy Award nominee Mark Ruffalo is one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actors, easily moving between stage and screen. He has worked with directors including Yorgos Lanthimos, Ang Lee, Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann, Spike Jonze, David Fincher, Fernando Meirelles and Michel Gondry.
Ruffalo can next be seen in Warner Bros and Bong Joon Ho’s highly anticipated sci-fi drama Mickey 17; in Brad Ingelsby's (Mare of Easttown) latest untitled crime series for HBO; and in Cooper Raiff’s upcoming television series Hal & Harper. Last year Ruffalo starred in Yorgos Lanthimos and Searchlight Pictures’ Poor Things and the Netflix mini-series All the Light We Cannot See.
In 2022, Ruffalo starred in Netflix’s sci-fi adventure feature The Adam Project. The film broke records as the fourth most-viewed Netflix film of all time. The same year, Ruffalo reprised the character of Bruce Banner/The Hulk in the “She Hulk” Marvel series for Disney+.
In 2020, Ruffalo starred in the critically acclaimed HBO series I Know This Much Is True, which garnered him an Emmy win for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series.” He executive produced and stared in the series, playing the two main characters. Also that year, he starred In Focus Features’ Dark Waters, directed by Todd Haynes, about the DuPont Pollution scandal.
In 2019, he reprised his role as Bruce Banner/The Hulk in Avengers: Endgame, the grand conclusion to Marvel Studios’ Avengers franchise, spanning twenty-two films. Previously, he starred in Avengers: Infinity War, which grossed $1.6 Billion worldwide and was the biggest world-wide film opening since 2002. In 2016, he was seen in Thor: Ragnarok and starred on Broadway in Arthur Miller’s The Price and in 2015, he appeared in Avengers: Age of Ultron, the hit sequel to Marvel’s The Avengers.
He was nominated for three Academy Awards within five years for his performances in The Kids Are All Right, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher and Thomas McCarthy’s Spotlight. The film won the Oscars® for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay at the 2016 Academy Awards®. The cast of the film was awarded the Screen Actors Guild®Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. In 2014, Ruffalo received Academy Award®, Screen Actors Guild® and BAFTA nominations for his role as the late Olympic wrestler David Schultz in Bennett Miller’s drama, Foxcatcher.
He also received a Screen Actors Guild® Award and Emmy® nominations, for his role as gay rights activist Ned Weeks in the HBO film The Normal Heart, based on the play by Larry Kramer.  Ruffalo earned Academy Award®, Screen Actors Guild®, BAFTA and Independent Spirit Award nominations for his performance In Focus Features’ The Kids Are All Right, directed by Lisa Cholodenko. Along with that string of nominations, he was also honored with the Best Supporting Actor Award by the New York Film Critics Circle.
In 2011, Ruffalo made his directorial debut with Sympathy for Delicious, which won the Special Jury Prize for dramatic film at the Sundance Film Festival. Ruffalo earned critical recognition in 2000 for his role in Kenneth Lonergan’s You Can Count on Me. The Martin Scorsese-produced film won the Grand Jury Prize for best film in dramatic competition and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival.
Ruffalo’s other film credits include Infinitely Polar Bear, Thanks for Sharing, Now You See Me, Shutter Island, We Don’t Live Here Anymore, Zodiac, The Brothers Bloom, Collateral, 13 Going on 30, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, In The Cut, Margaret, Blindness, Just Like Heaven, Reservation Road, All the King’s Men, What Doesn’t Kill You, My Life Without Me, The Last Castle, Windtalkers, XX/XY, Committed, Ride With the Devil, Studio 54, Safe Men, The Last Big Thing, Fish in the Bathtub, Life/Drawing, and Begin Again.
Ruffalo’s acting roots lie in the theater, where he first gained attention starring in the off-Broadway production of This Is Our Youth, for which he won a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Actor. In 2017, he starred in Arthur Miller’s The Price on Broadway opposite Danny DeVito.  In 2000, he was seen in the Off-Broadway production The Moment When, a play by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award® winner James Lapine. He made his theater debut in Avenue A at The Cast Theater. A writer, director, and producer, Ruffalo co-wrote the screenplay for the independent film The Destiny of Marty Fine. In 2000, he directed Timothy McNeil’s original play Margaret at the Hudson Backstage Theatre in Los Angeles. Ruffalo has also received Drama-Logue and Theater World Awards. Ruffalo made his Tony Award-nominated Broadway debut in the 2006 Lincoln Center Theater’s revival of Clifford Odets’ Awake and Sing!
Ruffalo advocates for addressing climate change and increasing renewable energy. Ruffalo helped launch The Solutions Project in 2012 as part of his mission to share science, business and culture that demonstrates the feasibility of renewable energy. A regular contributor to the Guardian and Huffington Post, Ruffalo has received the Global Green Millennium Award for Environmental Leadership and the Meera Gandhi Giving Back Foundation Award. He was named one of Time Magazine’s “People Who Mattered in 2011” and received The Big Fish Award from Riverkeeper in 2013. 

About Jessica Hecht

Jessica Hecht is an acclaimed stage actress and appeared most recently in Summer, 1976 opposite Laura Linney (Tony Nomination). Hecht's Broadway credits include The Price opposite Mark Ruffalo, Fiddler on the Roof opposite Danny Burstein, The Assembled Parties opposite Judith Light, Harvey opposite Jim Parsons, After the Fall opposite Carla Gugino, The Last Night of Ballyhoo opposite Dana Ivey and Paul Rudd, Brighton Beach Memoirs opposite Laurie Metcalf, Julius Caesar opposite Denzel Washington, A View From The Bridge opposite Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson (Tony Nomination). Off-Broadway, she has appeared in King Lear opposite John Lithgow and Annette Bening, Stage Kiss opposite Sandra Oh, Three Sisters opposite Maggie Gyllenhaal and at Lincoln Center Theater in Admissions for which she received an Obie Award.
She received an Emmy Award nomination for her performance in the Netflix series Special. She was seen on television in the limited series Super Pumped and The Loudest Voice and in recurring roles in The Sinner, Dickinson, The Boys, and Succession. She is also recognizable to television audiences from Friends and Breaking Bad.  
She has just completed filming Eleanor The Great opposite June Squibb (Scarlett Johansson's directorial debut). 
Jessica created The Campfire Project in 2017 providing wellness-based performing arts programs for refugees in settlements around the world. This summer marks their first NYC shelter project. Jessica is also on the board of Projects With Care, A NYC NGO that provides clothing, educational tools, care and Christmas to children and Moms who are unhoused.   


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