The New Group presents the world premiere of An Early History of Fire, a new play by Tony Award-winning playwright David Rabe. Directed by Jo Bonney, this production features Deema Aitken, Gordon Clapp, Erin Darke, Jonny Orsini, Devin Ratray, Dennis Staroselsky, Theo Stockman and Claire van der Boom. Limited Off-Broadway engagement is slated April 5 – May 26 at The New Group at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street). Official Opening Night is set for Monday, April 30 at 7:00 PM.
An Early History of Fire is set in a small Midwestern town at the tipping point of the early 1960s. A few years out of high school, Danny finds his days defined by friendship and loyalty – but a confusing new world encroaches in the form of Karen, back from college in the East, alluring and unsettling because of all she has learned. Awhirl in longing and eyeing a chance for radical change, Danny struggles against the grip of his immigrant father, who clings to his only son while mourning a vanished world of lost prestige. Poignant in its portrayal of the loss of America's innocence, this world premiere marks David Rabe's return to The New Group, following the company's 2005 revival of Hurlyburly.
An Early History of Fire features Deema Aitken ("Fritz," Film: Yelling to the Sky; TV: "Law & Order"), Gordon Clapp ("Pop," B'way: Glengarry Glen Ross -Tony® nom.; at The New Group: Blood From A Stone; Film: Flags of Our Fathers, Sunshine State, The Game Plan; TV: "NYPD Blue,"-Emmy Award, "CSI," "Monk," "Without A Trace," "Deadwood," "Damages"), Erin Darke ("Shirley," Theater: Summer Shorts Festival/59E59; Film: We Need to Talk about Kevin; TV: "Pan Am"), Jonny Orsini ("Terry," Off-B'way: Be a Good Little Widow/Ars Nova; Film: Cigarette Candy), Devin Ratray ("Benji," at The New Group: Marie and Bruce; Film: Home Alone and Home Alone 2, Dennis the Menace, Little Monsters; TV: "Law & Order" series, "Supernatural," "Third Watch," "New York Undercover"), Dennis Staroselsky ("Jake," Theater: Back, Back, Back/Dallas Theater Center, The Mambo Kings/Golden Gate Theater, Biloxi Blues/Geva Theater Center, Dead End/Huntington Theatre Co.; TV: "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Nurse Jackie"), Theo Stockman (B'way: American Idiot, Hair; TV: "Blue Bloods," "Private Practice," "CSI," "30 Rock") as "Danny" and Claire van der Boom (Film: Red Hill; TV: "Hawaii Five-O," "City Homicide") as "Karen."
David Rabe's first play in New York in 1971 was The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel. This was followed by Sticks and Bones, The Orphan, In the Boom Boom Room and Streamers, all produced by Joseph Papp. Hurlyburly came later, as did Those the River Keeps, A Question of Mercy, The Dog Problem and The Black Monk adapted from Chekhov. In recent years he has devoted his time more to fiction as he pursued a course begun with the novel Recital of the Dog. Since 2005 he has published A Primitive Heart, a book of stories, and two novels, Dinosaurs on the Roof and Girl by the Road at Night. A fourth novel was completed not long ago, along with several plays. Among his awards are the Drama Desk, NY Drama Critics Circle, Outer Critics, Obie, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Tony and three Hull-Warriner Awards.