Helen Hayes Theatre, (3/11/2010 - 7/04/2010)

First Preview: Feb 16, 2010
Opening Date: Mar 11, 2010
Closing Date: Jul 04, 2010
Total Previews: 26
Total Performances: 132

Category: Play, Drama, Original, Broadway

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by Martin Markinson and Donald Tick

Produced by Elton John, David Furnish, Barbara Manocherian, Richard Willis, Tom Smedes, Carole L. Haber/Chase Mishkin, Ostar, Anthony Barrile, Michael Palitz, Bob Boyett, James Spry/Catherine Schreiber, Probo Productions and Roy Furman; Produced in association with Naked Angels

Written by Geoffrey Nauffts

Directed by Sheryl Kaller; Associate Director: Joe Langworth

Scenic Design by Wilson Chin; Costume Design by Jess Goldstein; Lighting Design by Jeff Croiter; Original Music and Sound Design by John Gromada; Associate Scenic Design: Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams; Associate Costume Design: China Lee; Associate Lighting Design: Grant W.S. Yeager; Associate Sound Design: Christopher Cronin; Assistant Sound Design: Alex Neumann

Executive Producer: Susan Mindell; General Manager: Stuart Thompson Productions and David Turner; Company Manager: Bobby Driggers

Production Manager: Aurora Productions; Production Stage Manager: Charles Means; Stage Manager: Elizabeth Moloney

Casting: Howie Cherpakov, C.S.A; General Press Representative: Boneau / Bryan-Brown; Advertising: SPOTCo, Inc.; Marketing, Promotional and Digital Services: Allied Live; Photographer: Carol Rosegg; Fight direction by Drew Leary

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Opening Night Cast

Patrick BreenAdam
Maddie CormanHolly
Sean DuganBrandon
Patrick HeusingerLuke
Connie RayArlene
Cotter SmithButch

Standby: David Adkins (Adam, Butch), Clayton Apgar (Brandon, Luke) and Kristie Dale Sanders (Arlene, Holly)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 2010 Best Play [nominee] 

Written by Geoffrey Nauffts; Produced by Elton John, David Furnish, Barbara Manocherian, Richard Willis, Tom Smedes, Carole L. Haber/Chase Mishkin, Ostar, Anthony Barrile, Michael Palitz, Bob Boyett, James Spry/Catherine Schreiber, Probo Productions and Roy Furman; Produced in association with Naked Angels

 2010 Best Direction of a Play [nominee] 

Sheryl Kaller

Drama Desk Award

 2010 Outstanding Play [nominee] 

Produced by Elton John, David Furnish, Barbara Manocherian, Richard Willis, Tom Smedes, Carole L. Haber/Chase Mishkin, Anthony Barrile, Michael Palitz, Bob Boyett, James Spry/Catherine Schreiber, Probo Productions, Roy Furman and Ostar; Produced in association with Naked Angels; Written by Geoffrey Nauffts

 2010 Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play [nominee] 

Sean Dugan

Reviews


AP: "Question of faith explored in Next Fall"

To believe or not to believe.

It’s a quandary at the heart of “Next Fall,” Geoffrey Nauffts’ compassionate exploration of faith that has made a smooth transfer from off-Broadway to the big time of Broadway’s Helen Hayes Theatre.

The play, which had a successful run last summer at Playwrights Horizon’s small theater, is something of a risk on Broadway today. No stars. A playwright who’s not well-known, although he has extensive acting credits and is artistic director of the theater company, Naked Angels. Don’t let the lack of celebrity deter you. “Next Fall” is expertly cast, enormously entertaining and even laugh-filled despite the underlying seriousness of its subject matter.

This battle over religious beliefs is played out against the backdrop of a hospital drama where a comatose young man fights for his life. That grim prognosis hovers over the story, which is told in flashback. It’s the tale of Adam and Luke (could the names be more Biblical?), partners whose relationship has been upended by a traffic accident in which Luke has been seriously injured.

As family and friends gather, the two men’s history is told in bits and pieces. How they meet. How they move in together. And how their relationship starts to fray as Adam begins to question Luke’s fundamentalist beliefs and his unwillingness to tell his family that he is gay.

Director Sheryl Kaller carefully balances the hospital scenes with the more intimate moments when the two men define and dissect what they believe or, more importantly, what they don’t believe. Particularly the underachieving and constantly complaining Adam, who has never had much of a career. He is a quivering, quirky mass of neuroses, and Patrick Breen captures the man’s every twitch.

Luke, a would-be actor, is more outwardly laid back and secure in his religion, but anxiety bubbles close to the surface, especially in terms of publicly declaring his sexuality. Patrick Heuslnger exudes an easygoing Southern charm, a likeability that masks, up to a point, his definite views of religion.

Family plays an important part in “Next Fall,” most empathetically Luke’s divorced parents: his rigid, conservative father (Cotter Smith) and his talkative, cheerfully scatterbrained mother (an ingratiating Connie Ray).

Yet friends are memorably portrayed, too. The sardonic, supportive Holly, brought to life in a wry understated performance by Maddie Corman. And Brandon, a gay man whose own moral straitjacket is as tightly tied as Luke’s. In one of the evening’s best written- and compelling acted- scenes, Brandon explains his own strict moral beliefs. Sean Dugan pulls it off masterfully, calmly explaining his thoughts to a perplexed, more than dubious Adam.

One of the pleasures of “Next Fall” is Nauffts’ evenhandedness in presenting both sides of an issue. The playwright doesn’t preach or try to tell his compelling story only in black and white. He invests the play with a generosity that doesn’t prejudge. Nauffts embraces both the virtues and foibles of his characters. And that inclusion makes “Next Fall” an even richer experience.


AP
03/12/2010

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