Stage West Presents the Regional Premiere of A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE GYNECOLOGIC ONCOLOGY UNIT AT MEMORIAL SLOAN KETTERING CANCER CENTER OF NEW YORK CITY
Two very different people thrown together in a hospital room where both their mothers are battling cancer--it's surely not the most auspicious first encounter. But after a hostile beginning, the two find they have some surprising common ground, in Halley Feiffer's outrageously funny, and ultimately touching, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City. The play begins a 4-week regional premiere run at Stage West on Thursday, March 8.
Karla is a young, R-rated comedian, while Don is a rumpled, middle-aged man going through a nasty divorce; both their mothers are fighting cancer and sharing a room. Don and Karla's initial meeting does not go well, escalating quickly into an epic confrontation. Surprisingly, though, this war of words ends in laughter and tears, with each of them finding sympathy for the other. Over the course of several days, they open up to each other, Don about his resentful, drug-addicted son, and Karla about her seemingly-uncaring, far less than ideal mother. Gradually, this mutual support helps them to salvage the pieces of their lives, especially Karla's broken relationship with her mom. Ultimately, the play is a touching and funny look at relationships, especially the prickly parent-child one, and at the strength it takes to learn to laugh through the pain.
Director Dana Schultes says, "I love the freshness of the script... It definitely pushes some boundaries--like all great theatre--while retaining a through-line of warmth and heart. It's really lovely...with some mega-edge sprinkled on top."
The New York Times called it "A play that is a deeply felt as its name is long."
Halley Feiffer is a New York-based writer and actress. Her full-length plays also include I'm Gonna Pray for You So Hard, How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them, and Sidney and Laura. She is currently a writer on the Starz series The One Percent. Her plays have been produced, commissioned and developed by Manhattan Theatre Club, Second Stage, New York Theatre Workshop, LAByrinth Theater Company, The O'Neill, The Orchard Project, Berkshire Theatre Group, Naked Angels, Cape Cod Theatre Project, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Keen Company, Partial Comfort Productions and the Amoralists. She is currently working on a stage adaption of The Boy Kings, Kate Losse's memoir about working at Facebook during its rising year. Halley is an alumna of terraNOVA's Groundbreakers Playwrights' Group, a former resident writer for Blue Man Group, former Playwright in Residence at Stella Adler Studio and a winner of the Young Playwrights Competition and the Lotos Foundation Prize. She is currently under commission by Manhattan Theatre Club/The Sloan Foundation, Jen Hoguet Productions and Playwrights Horizons. Halley co-wrote and starred in the 2013 film He's Way More Famous Than You, and co-created and stars in the web series What's Your Emergency for Stage17.tv (both directed by Michael Urie). She holds a BA from Wesleyan University, and is the daughter of Jules Feiffer
and Jenny Allen.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City will be directed by Stage West Executive Producer Dana Schultes, who most recently directed our production of The Aliens. Making her Stage West debut as Karla will be Janielle Kastner, whose credits include Young Woman in Lisa My Friend for Kitchen Dog Theatre, with Thomas Ward, recently seen as Mr. Zero in Theatre Three's Adding Machine: A Musical, as Don. Karla's mother Marcie will be played by Shannon J. McGrann, who appeared as Williamina in Silent Sky at WaterTower Theatre, while Judy Keith, seen as Grandma in Billy Elliot at Firehouse Theatre, will play Don's mother Geena. Understudying Geena, and appearing at the March 30 performance, will be Cindee Mayfield, who recently appeared as Babs in Stage West's Life Sucks.
Set design is by Jocelyn Girigorie, with lighting design by L.W. Miller, costume design by Sylvia Fuhrken, sound design by Marco Salinas, and props/set decor by Lynn Lovett.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City will preview Thursday, March 8 at 7:30 and Friday, March 9 at 8:00, and will run through Sunday, April 1. Performance times will be Thursday evenings at 7:30, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00, with Sunday matinees at 3:00. The opening night reception will be Saturday, March 10. Ticket prices range from $31 to $35, with discounts for the preview performance, and for students, seniors, and military. Food service is available 90 minutes prior to performances (reservations are advised). Reservations and information are available through the Box Office (817-784-9378), or on the website, www.stagewest.org.
Note: this play contains strong language and adult situations.