Following critical acclaim and popular demand, Playwrights Horizons (Tim Sanford, Artistic Director; Leslie Marcus, Managing Director) has announced a three-week extension for the World Premiere of THIS, the new play by Obie Award winner Melissa James Gibson (Suitcase, [sic]). Directed by Obie Award winner Daniel Aukin ([sic], eight seasons as Artistic Director of Soho Rep), the production opened Wednesday, December 2. Originally set to run through Sunday, December 13, the limited engagement will now play through Sunday, January 3, 2010 at the theater company's Mainstage Theater (416 West 42nd Street). This date represents the latest extension possible for the show.
On the day reviews came out, Playwrights Horizons experienced one of the highest-grossing box office days in its 39-year history. Charles Isherwood in The New York Times led the reviews, hailing THIS as "The best new play to open Off-Broadway this fall. Melissa James Gibson graduates into the theatrical big leagues with this beautifully-conceived, confidently executed and wholly accessible work. Ms. Gibson's writing is full of inventive humor and wise insight. As directed by Daniel Aukin, Ms. Gibson's longtime collaborator, and performed by a flawless cast, the play's delicate pace, richly-patterned wordplay and undercurrent of rue combine to cast a moving spell that lingers in the memory."
Critics are also calling THIS "A terrific new play! Startling, intellectually quirky and emotionally satisfying. Surprisingly tough-minded and funny" (Mike Kuchwara, Associated Press), "Beautifully written, intelligent and funny" (Tanner Stransky, Entertainment Weekly), "A smart comedy for smart people in a top-notch production by Playwrights Horizons" (Michael Sommers, New Jersey Newsroom) and "A razor-sharp observational comedy" (David Sheward, Backstage). And Elisabeth Vincentelli of The New York Post writes, "THIS is all that. It weaves a compelling spell."
The critical and box office reception to THIS marks back-to-back hits for Playwrights Horizons this season, following the acclaimed new play CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION by Annie Baker, directed by Sam Gold. After extending twice at the theater company's Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, it was recently announced that the production would return for a limited engagement starting Tuesday, December 15 with tickets on sale through Sunday, January 17.
The "flawless cast" (The New York Times) of THIS features JuliAnne Nicholson ("Brilliant" - Entertainment Weekly; "A full-bodied performance" - Variety), Obie Award winner Eisa Davis ("A stand out. Fiery acting and gorgeous singing" - Daily News), Glenn Fitzgerald ("Superb" - The New York Post), Darren Pettie ("Vivid" - New Jersey Newsroom) and Louis Cancelmi ("Charming" - Associated Press).
The production features scenic design by Louisa Thompson, costume design by Maiko Matsushima, lighting design by Matt Frey, sound design by Matt Tierney and original music by Peter Eldridge. (Songs with music by Peter Eldridge and lyrics by Melissa James Gibson are performed by Eisa Davis.) Production Stage Manager is Kasey Ostopchuck.