Cort Theatre, (4/23/2012 - 7/01/2012)

First Preview: Apr 05, 2012
Opening Date: Apr 23, 2012
Closing Date: Jul 01, 2012
Total Previews: 21
Total Performances: 80

Category: Play, Comedy, Original, Broadway
Setting: A hospital room, a meeting hall, and an empty apartment

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Philip J. Smith: Chairman; Robert E. Wankel: President)

Produced by Kathleen K. Johnson; Associate Producer: Jonathan Tessero

Originally produced by Vineyard Theatre (Douglas Aibel: Artistic Director; Jennifer Garvey-Blackwell: Executive Director)

Written by Nicky Silver; Original music by David Van Tieghem

Directed by Mark Brokaw; Assistant Director: Sam Pinkleton

Scenic Design by Allen Moyer; Costume Design by Michael Krass; Lighting Design by David Lander; Sound Design by David Van Tieghem; Associate Sound Design: David Sanderson; Assistant Scenic Design: Warren Karp; Assistant Costume Design: Brenda Abbandandolo; Assistant Lighting Design: Travis McHale; Assistant Sound Design: Emma Wilk

General Manager: Niko Companies, Ltd.

Production Manager: Aurora Productions; Production Stage Manager: Robert Bennett; Stage Manager: Lois Griffing

Fight direction by Thomas Schall; Casting: Henry Russell Bergstein, C.S.A.; Press Representative: Sam Rudy; Advertising: AKA; Marketing: AKA; Digital and Interactive: AKA; Photographer: Carol Rosegg

Opening Night Cast

Linda LavinRita Lyons
Dick LatessaBen Lyons
Michael EsperCurtis Lyons
(Apr 05, 2012 - Jun 10, 2012)
Kate Jennings GrantLisa Lyons
Brenda PressleyNurse
Gregory WooddellBrian

Understudies: Richard Gallagher (Brian, Curtis Lyons), Tim Jerome (Ben Lyons), Eva Kaminsky (Lisa Lyons, Nurse) and John Wernke (Brian, Curtis Lyons)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 2012 Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play [nominee] 

Linda Lavin

Drama Desk Award

 2012 Outstanding Play [nominee] 

Written by Nicky Silver; Produced by Kathleen K. Johnson

 2012 Outstanding Actress in a Play [nominee] 

Linda Lavin


AP: "Terrific 'The Lyons' is mordant little gem"

Pity Ben Lyons. He lies dying in a hospital bed and wants some peace and quiet in his final days – respect, mostly – but is surrounded by his feckless family.

There's his son, a failed short story writer who depends on his parents' support and has a stable of imaginary friends. There is his needy daughter, a recovering drunk with self-esteem problems who can't quite break free of her ex-husband.

And then there's his wife of 40 years, who is already exploring patterns to redo the living room after Ben has died. Flipping through House Beautiful magazine beside his bed, she throws out options: French provincial? Chinese modern? Early American?

"Is it too much to want a fresh start?" she asks when he objects. "Is it too much to hope for a clean palate?"

No wonder that when the phone rings, Ben Lyons wonders aloud: "God, I hope it's death."

Nicky Silver's terrific play "The Lyons," which opened Monday on Broadway at the Cort Theatre, is filled with moments like those – moments when you can't stop laughing even though the circumstances indicate you really shouldn't.

The first-rate cast – Linda Lavin, Dick Latessa, Michael Esper, Kate Jennings Grant, Brenda Pressley and Gregory Wooddell – has made the trip north after the production made its debut last fall off-Broadway at The Vineyard Theatre. Mark Brokaw returns as the director, and the play has been trimmed into a tighter, harder little gem.

It's a play about family dysfunction and regret, but also about breaking out of our ruts. Silver's humor is mordant, dark and rich. He's a writer who knows all too well the unsaid hurt that can infect families.

Lavin is an absolute wonder to behold as Rita Lyons, a nag of a mother with a collection of firm beliefs and eye rolls, a matriarch who is both suffocating and keeping everyone at arm's length.

She didn't tell her kids that their father was dying for several weeks because she was busy – at a backgammon tournament. She nudges her daughter to meet someone new – including a man dying of lymphoma, commenting in the most lukewarm way possible, "You're perfectly nice looking." One of her grandsons, she wonders aloud, seems to be "just a little bit retarded."

At one point she appears with a box of candy. When her daughter wonders where she got it while at a hospital, she replies: "A little girl down the hall just died. And I got Jordan almonds!"

Latessa adds so much to his role, described simply as a "curmudgeon" in the script. Latessa makes you feel this man's frustration, fear, disappointment and also his love. It is his character's imminent death that shakes up his family.

Of course, he can't get too maudlin – not with Rita around. When he wonders whether he'll end up in hell, she offers: "Well, even if there is a hell, I can't believe you're going. I mean it's a little grandiose of you, don't you think?"

Esper plays the son as a man unraveling, a smugness at the beginning wiped away following a face-off with a real estate broker (Wooddell) in Act 2. He is a man-child, full of hurts and a thin skin, and ends up in the same hospital as his father.

Grant's part has been trimmed with the loss of a monologue, but she is still delightfully wistful, seemingly always befuddled. Both siblings end up in better places at the end, and watching them swallow their disappointments and get on with their lives is a pleasure. Brenda Pressley plays a no-nonsense nurse whom Silver has thankfully resisted making into an angel of mercy.

Nothing beats Rita's final speech, and Lavin rips into it with gusto.

"I am rootless in the world," she says. "I'm still alive and I have to find a way to try to feel something!" You can tell it was a major reason this busy actress chose to commit to this play instead of other Broadway-bound options.

But the real star is Silver's play, a wonderful little riff on family dysfunction. Or, as Rita says while flipping through pictures of beautiful living rooms, "I suppose you never really know what people are like, behind closed doors."


Replacement/Transfer Info

The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.

Cort Theatre

(4/23/2012 - 7/1/2012)


Charlie Hofheimer
Curtis Lyons (Jun 12, 2012 - ?)

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