Manhattan Theatre Club Production of Sam Shepard Play
On September 15, 2015, Fool For Love
began previews at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, the Broadway venue of the not-for-profit theatre institution, the Manhattan Theatre Club. The show will officially open on October 8, 2015. The play, written by Sam Shepard, first premiered in 1983 at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco, followed by an Off-Broadway run that same year at the Circle Repertory Theatre followed by the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre, where the cast included the likes of Bruce Willis early in his career, as well as Ellen Barkin who rehearsed but never performed the role due to an injury. The show then played the National Theatre in London in 1984, as well as a West End production in 2006. This is the first time the show has played on Broadway. This production, directed by Daniel Aukin, first premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts in the summer of 2014. Following excellent reception, the show is transferring to Broadway with the same lead cast: Nina Arianda as May, and Sam Rockwell as Eddie. The supporting cast is Tom Pelphrey in the role of Martin, and Gordon Joseph Weiss in the role of the Old Man. This is the Broadway directorial debut for Daniel Aukin, who has been building his career Off-Broadway for many years with such shows as 4000 Miles
Star Crossed Casting of Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell
When Fool for Love
was set for production at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in July 2014, the original casting was Chris Pine and Lauren Ambrose. However, both of them pulled out with just a month to go before performances. It was then that Arianda and Rockwell were cast in the show, and had only a month to rehearse. However, both actors admit that these roles have been on their minds for a long time, and their chance to portray them was as if star crossed good fortune. Nina Arianda came to fame after portraying the role of Vanda in David Ives’ Venus in Fur
, first Off-Broadway and then in the Broadway transfer, just a year after completing her degree at New York University. She also was nominated for a Tony Award for her starring role in Born Yesterday
. Her familiarity with Sam Shepard’s work dates back to age 12, when she saw a local production of Shepard’s play True West
and wanted to appear in this part ever since. Sam Rockwell is well known for his film roles in such movies as Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
and Iron Man 2
, and he, too, has long been interested in playing this part in Sam Shepard’s play. They were both very star struck when they shook the playwright’s hand moments before performing the play for him for the first time.
A Controversial Manhattan Theatre Club Season
This production of a play by Sam Shepard, a male playwright, comes on the wake of significant controversy over the selection of plays by Lynne Meadow, the artistic director of the Manhattan Theatre Club. When seven of the eight plays of the season were announced, all were by male playwrights, including this one, Fool for Love
, and the only female director announced was Lynne herself, at the helm of a Richard Greenberg play. However, though the contracts had not all been signed yet, Meadow rushed to alert the press that the eighth and as yet unannounced play would be by a female playwright, Penelope Skinner, and that director, as yet unconfirmed, would likely be Lila Neugebauer. Nevertheless, the productions are all going ahead as planned, and Fool for Love
is starting the season off with an exciting production.