After a sold out run, first at McCarter Theater in Princeton New Jersey and then at Lincoln Center in New York City, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
moved to Broadway for a limited run from
March 5th to August 25th.
It won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play.
Christopher Durang’s new play is entitled Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. The play was written on commission from the McCarter Theater in Princeton, New Jersey, and then it became a co-production of the McCarter and The Lincoln Center Theater in New York City. The play premiered at the McCarter in early September 2012 and played until October 14, and then the same production (including director Nicholas Martin and the cast) moved to Lincoln Center’s Mitzi Newhouse Theater. The play began previews on October 25, opened on November 12, and has recently been extended until January 20, 2013.
The cast of six is made up of David Hyde Pierce as Vanya, Kristine Nielsen as Sonia, Sigourney Weaver as Masha, Billy Magnussen as Spike, Shalita Grant as Cassandra, and Genevieve Angelson as Nina.
The play is set in the present day in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in a farm house Vanya and his step-sister Sonia have lived in all their lives. They jointly took care of their ailing, doddering parents for many years while their movie star sister Masha was gallivanting around the world, having a life. The play takes place on a weekend when Masha shows up with a new twenty something boy toy named Spike.
Vanya, Masha and Sonia were named after Chekhov characters by their college professor parents. And the play, which is a mix of comedy and drama, takes Chekhovian characters and themes, mixes them up and puts them in a blender.
The play has been directed by Nicholas Martin, who also directed the premieres of two other Durang plays, Betty’s Summer Vacation at Playwrights Horizons Theatre, winning him a directing Obie award, and the critically acclaimed Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them at the Public Theatre.
This trailer from the McCarter Theater production
Chris Durang and Dawne recently won a
Nightlife Award at Town Hall in New York City
Chris Durang & Dawne, the unique comic nightclub act launched in 1989 featuring the playwright and John Augustine and Sherry Anderson, will be reunited for the first time in over a decade at the 10th Annual Nightlife Awards, which will be held Jan. 30, 2012 at 7 PM at Town Hall.
Chris Durang & Dawne will receive a Special Nightlife Award for their legendary nightclub act, and they will also perform during the evening, which will be hosted by actress-singer Lucie Arnaz and Tony winner Bill Irwin.
The evening, which honors the best in cabaret, comedy & jazz, differs from other award shows in that it features no acceptance speeches. Instead of speeches, the winners perform.
The last time Durang, Augustine and Anderson performed together in New York City was in 1996.
On his website, producer Scott Siegel added this: “I have been trying to bring Chris Durang & Dawne together again for almost the entire ten years that the Nightlife Awards has been in existence. I’m thrilled that I am finally succeeding because my wife and I happened to be at The Criterion Center in Times Square when Chris Durang & Dawne premiered in 1986 at a 10:30 PM show. We laughed our heads off and never forgot this extraordinary act. It was actually easier for me to re-unite Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner for their concert together at Town Hall a few years ago than it was to get the elusive Durang & Dawne back together. But finally it is about to happen and I can’t wait!”
Durang and Dawne performed for 10 minutes at the Nightlife Awards, and received a standing ovation that went on for 20 minutes. No, the last part of the sentence is a lie. But it went well. And they performed their over-heated trio version of “Aldonza” from Man of La Manhca, and they finished with their Madonna medley that somehow segues into a strangely unhinged "You are Sixteen Going on Seventeen."
Read more about Chris Durang and Dawne
CD of Durang-Melnick Musical Adrift in Macao
Now Available at Amazon.com
The musical Adrift in Macao, with book and lyrics by Christopher Durang and music by Peter Melnick, premiered in New York City in 2007 at Primary Stages.
Read more about Adrift in Macao
Christopher Durang had two prominent revivals in the summer of 2008.
The first was Roundabout Theatre’s presentation of Durang’s 1985 Obie-winning play The Marriage of Bette and Boo in its first major NYC revival. The well received production was directed by Walter Bobbie, and starred Kate Jennings Grant and Christopher Evan Welch as Bette and Boo. The rest of the talented cast was Victoria Clark and Adam LeFevre as Margaret and Paul, John Glover and Julie Hagerty as Karl and Soot, Heather Burns and Zoe Lister-Jones as sisters Emily and Joan, Terry Beaver as Father Donnally, and Charles Socarides as Matt.
The second revival was Durang’s screwball comedy Beyond Therapy -- about messed up lovers and even more messed up therapists -- presented in a joint production by the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Williamstown, Massachusetts and the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, Long Island, N.Y. The production was directed by Alex Timbers, and starred Katie Finneran and Darren Goldstein as Prudence and Bruce, Darrell Hammond and Kate Burton as the two therapists, Matt McGrath as Bob, and Bryce Pinkham as Andrew.
The William Inge Theatre Festival
Christopher Durang was the Honoree of the 27th William Inge Theatre Festival, April 23-26, 2008, in Independence, Kansas. He received the William Inge Theatre Festival Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award on Sat. April 26, 2008. Previous Honorees include Arthur Miller, August Wilson, Neil Simon, Edward Albee, Stephen Sondheim, Wendy Wasserstein, and Tina Howe, among others. The tribute festival finale presented a full evening of excerpts of Durang’s work, performed by an impressive group of actors: Dominic Barker, Barbara Dana, Brad Herbelee, Kaitlin Hopkins, Susan Hyon, Michele Pawk, Jim Price, Patricia Randell, Alan Safier, Walter Willison, Elizabeth Wilson, and two “surprise guests,” Kate McGregor-Stewart and E. Katherine Kerr (both of whom originated roles in Durang’s works). It was a lovely event.
Playwright's Sidewalk at the Lucille Lortel Awards on May 7, 2007
Durang was honored with a star on the sidewalk outside the Lucille Lortel Theatre on Christopher Street in New York City. Movie stars famously have their feet and hand prints in the sidewalk outside of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. This is the playwrights’ more modest version of that. Check out this website, and move the cursor over the stars and find out which playwrights are where.
Christopher Durang was awarded the Harvard Arts Medal on May 5, 2006.
Durang, a 1971 graduate of Harvard College, was the 12th person to win the medal, and the first playwright. Previous medal recipients include cellist Yo-Yo Ma ’76, film director Mira Nair ’79, director Peter Sellars ’80, composers William Christie ’66 and John Harbison ’60, National Theatre of the Deaf founder David Hays ’52, author John Updike ’54, musicians Bonnie Raitt ’72 and Pete Seeger ’40, and the late actor Jack Lemmon ’47.” Read: Harvard Gazette: Playwright Durang wins Harvard Arts Medal
CHRISTOPHER DURANG and DEBRA MONK performed in a revival of Durang’s play Laughing Wild in the spring of 2005 at the Huntington Theatre in Boston. The production was directed by Nicholas Martin.
DURANG and MARSHA NORMAN won the Margo Jones Medal last fall for their work in playwriting and especially for their teaching of emerging playwrights at the Juilliard School in Manhattan. There was a ceremony honoring them in November, 2004 at Juilliard.
Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge is a good antidote to holiday cheer for those theatres looking for such a thing. The play was a big hit when it premiered at City Theatre in Pittsburgh, and it is now available through Dramatists Play Services. There’s more information on this website in the Full Length Plays section. Click Here for more about Mrs. Bob Crachit's Wild Christmas Binge
Beyond Therapy - perhaps of interest to people putting on that play of Durang’s about patients and their therapists, there is a recorded CD version of the play (a “play on tape” or rather “play on cd”). It has a distinguished cast: David Hyde Pierce who plays Bruce, Catherine O’Hara (of all those funny Christopher Guest movies) who plays Prudence, Kate McGregor-Stewart who created the role of Mrs. Wallace in the original production on Broadway and who performs it again here; Ed Begley, Jr. who plays the macho therapist; Richard Kind who plays the lover Bob; and Durang who plays the small part of Andrew the waiter (which was originally done by David Hyde Pierce in his first Equity job). If you’re interested, you can get the CD through Amazon here is their link: amazon.com