The Broadway season would not be complete without a little controversy cutting through the glitz and glamor of an otherwise fantastic and dreamy year. Bruce Norris' Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Clybourne Park, hit nerves before it even hit New York, temporarily ending its shot at Broadway. An eleventh hour save ensured the show will go on -- and hit nerves all along the Great White Way.Clybourne Park is a pointed dark comedy about race tensions set amidst real estate ups and downs. The play, by Bruce Norris, won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as the Olivier Award for Best Play in London. Loosely based on A Raisin in the Sun, Clybourne Park examines race relations then and now in a provocative, gritty comedic style that is suitable for adult audiences only.
The show takes place in the same house, with Act I beginning in 1959, while Act II is set in the present day. The first act wickedly skewers the local neighborhood who try to prevent the house from being sold to a black family during the tumultuous days of segregation. The second act shows the same house in current time, but now the neighborhood is predominantly African-American and trying to keep non-blacks out in a time of multi-culturalism and immigration.
The touchy subject matter had some in the Broadway business withdrawing support of the show. The production was briefly homeless, and its Broadway goal quelled. Not scared of a little controversy, Jordan Roth of Jujamcyn Theatres found the show a home.
In a statement, Roth commented, “We are thrilled to finally welcome Broadway audiences to Clybourne Park. The Kerr has been home to so many seminal Pulitzer Prize-winning plays – Angels in America, Doubt, The Piano Lesson, Proof – and we’re so proud that Clybourne Park will continue that legacy.” In fact, along with winning Pulitzers, Angels in America, Doubt, and Proof each won the Tony Award for Best Play in their premiere seasons on Broadway.
Preview performances for the controversial Pulitzer Prize-winning play Clybourne Park began on March 26, 2012, with an Opening Night set for April 19, 2012, at the Walter Kerr Theatre located at 219 West 48th Street. Clybourne Park is set for a limited 16-week engagement.
Clybourne Park received its world premiere at Playwrights Horizons in 2010, then played a highly successful pre-Broadway tryout at the Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, CA.
The highly versatile cast won rave reviews at the show's two previous incarnations. Everyone in the production does double duty playing characters both in the 1959 first act and in the present day second act. Reprising their roles in the Broadway production are Crystal A. Dickinson as "Francine/Lena", Brendan Griffin as "Jim/Tom/Kenneth", Damon Gupton as "Albert/Kevin", Christina Kirk as "Bev/Kathy", Annie Parisse as "Betsy/Lindsey", Jeremy Shamos as "Karl/Steve," and Frank Wood as "Russ/Dan."
This production is directed by Pam McKinnon, who also directed the forthcoming Broadway revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. The production design team features scenic design by Daniel Ostling, costume design by Ilona Somogyi, lighting design by Allen Lee Hughes, and sound design by John Gromada.
Clybourne Park is produced on Broadway by Jujamcyn Theaters, Jane Bergère, Roger Berlind/Quintet Productions Eric Falkenstein/Dan Frishwasser, Ruth Hendel/Harris Karma Productions, JTG Theatricals, Daryl Roth, Jon B. Platt, Center Theatre Group, in association with Lincoln Center Theater. Clybourne Park received its world premiere at Playwrights Horizons in 2010.
For more information about the show, the talented cast, or to get tickets, visit the show's wwbsite.