Due to popular demand, Playwrights Horizons (Tim Sanford, Artistic Director; Leslie Marcus, Managing Director) has announced a second, final extension of its critically-acclaimed, sold-out New York premiere of The Whale, a new play by Obie Award winner Samuel D. Hunter (A Bright New Boise). Originally set to play a limited engagement through Sunday, December 2, the production originally extended to Sunday, December 9 and now extends to Saturday, December 15 at Playwrights Horizons' Peter Jay Sharp Theater (416 West 42nd Street). This additional week represents the final extension possible for the production.
Directed by Davis McCallum, The Whale began previews Friday, October 12 and had its official opening on Monday, November 5.
Charles Isherwood of The New York Times called The Whale, "An affecting new drama. There may be no more startling image on a New York stage right now." Rex Reed of The New York Observer pronounced it "Riveting! Davis McCallum's direction forms an impassioned and arresting clash of minds and emotions. Shuler Hensley's performance is dynamic and horrifying. His performance is NOT TO BE MISSED! " Michael Feingold of The Village Voice called it, "Vibrant and provocative." Scott Brown of New York Magazine raved, calling it "Extraordinary! Shuler Hensley is exceptional." John Lahr of The New Yorker called it, "Compelling and psychologically complex. Shuler Hensley is excellent. Samuel D. Hunter is a bold theatrical storyteller." Elisabeth Vincentelli of The New York Post called it "Wonderful! Shuler Hensley gives a startlingly poignant performance." Joe Dziemianowicz of Daily News gave it FOUR STARS, calling it "A deeply affecting and piercingly amusing play. Shuler Hensley gives a whopper of a performance." And David Cote of Time Out-New York named it a Critics' Pick, also giving it FOUR STARS and calling it "Sharp and funny. Shuler Hensley is harrowingly good."
The acclaimed cast features Theatre World Award winner Cassie Beck, Reyna de Courcy, Tony Award and Obie Award winner Shuler Hensley, Tasha Lawrence and Cory Michael Smith. Ms. Beck will play her final performance with the production this Sunday evening, November 25. Beginning Tuesday, November 27, the role of Liz will be assumed by Rebecca Henderson (The Retributionists at PH, The Collection & A Kind of Alaska: Two Plays by Harold Pinter at The Atlantic, the recent Red-Handed Otter).
On the outskirts of Mormon Country, Idaho, a six-hundred pound recluse (Mr. Hensley) hides away in his apartment eating himself to death. Desperate to reconnect with his long-estranged daughter (Ms. de Courcy), he reaches out to her, only to find a viciously sharp-tongued and wildly unhappy teen. Big-hearted and fiercely funny, The Whale tells the story of a man's last chance at redemption, and of finding beauty in the most unexpected places.