A.A. Milne's THE LUCKY ONE Starts Friday Off-Broadway
Beginning Friday, Mint Theater Company will present the first ever New York revival of The Lucky One by A.A. Milne. Performances will continue through June 25th at the Beckett Theater at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street). Opening Night is set for May 18th.
Jesse Marchese directs a cast that features Paton Ashbrook, Ari Brand, Andrew Fallaize, Michael Frederic, Robert David Grant, Wynn Harmon, Cynthia Harris, Deanne Lorette, Peggy J. Scott and Mia Hutchinson-Shaw. The Lucky One has scenic design by Vicki R. Davis; costume design by Martha Hally; lighting design by Christian DeAngelis; and sound design by Toby Algya. Casting is by Stephanie Klapper.
"Few plays have ever been more directly and deeply searching of the springs of conduct; more subtle in depicting essential character, " declared The New York Times in 1922. The Lucky One is the timeless story of antagonism between two brothers: Gerald, who stands in the sun, and Bob, who stands in Gerald's shadow. When Bob finds himself in serious legal trouble, he turns to Gerald for rescue. When Gerald fails to come through, years of simmering resentment boil over in a confrontation that is as stirring as it is surprising. "It takes a motive that life and the human mind has conventionalized for ages-even in the old folk and fairy tales-and makes it fresh and new and, in the highest sense, instructive" The Nation wrote at the time.
Alan Alexander Milne had been the assistant editor and a regular contributor to Punch magazine for ten years before he joined the war effort at the age of 32 as a signals officer. It was in the Army that Milne first turned his hand to playwriting, which he considered a luxury for a journalist. "When an article is written," Milne explained, "the financial reward is a matter of certainty. But when a play is written, there is no certainty of anything save disillusionment... I thought I could write one (we all do) but I could not afford so unpromising a gamble. But once in the Army the case was altered." As a soldier, Milne felt entitled to spend his leisure time as he wished, and he began writing plays. His earliest efforts were published in 1919 in a volume called First Plays. Milne remarked in the Introduction, "The Lucky One was doomed from the start with a name like that...I see no hope of its being produced."
Despite Milne's prediction The Lucky One was produced in 1922 in New York, his sixth Broadway production in less than two years, including Mr. Pim Passes By and The Truth About Blayds, both of which received acclaimed revivals at Mint. A.A. Milne was now "that extraordinarily brilliant theatrical prospect," provoking envy and dismay from fellow playwrights: "Something, preferably of a harsh nature, will have to be done about Mr. Milne. He is steadily monopolizing the theatres of the habitable globe for the performance of his plays... He has not yet taken possession of the sixty theatres of New York, but if he continues to occupy them at his present pace, the whole lot will soon be labeled, 'Reserved for Mr. Milne!'" wrote St. John Ervine (John Ferguson) in The Observer.
The Lucky One introduced theatergoers to Milne in a dramatic vein. The Nation said it was "simply in a different world from all the other plays of Mr. Milne. It analyzes a moral problem in strictly dramatic terms with both delicacy of touch and weightiness of intention."
Performances of The Lucky One will be Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30pm with matinees Saturday & Sunday at 2pm. Special Wednesday Matinees on May 17th and May 31st at 2pm. All performances are at The Beckett Theatre at Theater Row (410 West 42nd Street between 9th and Dyer Avenues). Tickets are $65.00 (including $2.25 theater restoration fee) and can be purchased online at Telecharge.com, by phone at 212-239-6200 or in person at the Theatre Row Box Office. For more information, visit minttheater.org.