Month: October 2018

Take “The Love Course” With Us!

In honor of The Love Course, one of the three one-act plays in our production of A.R. Gurney’s Final Follies, we invite you to read up on some of the works referenced in the piece! This should help you keep up with Professors Carroway and Burgess as they dissect some of the greatest works of romantic literature.

Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare


via Wikimedia Commons

  • “If it be love indeed, tell me how much.”
  • “There’s beggary in the love that can be reckon’d.”
  • “I’ll set a bourn how far to be belov’d.”

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë


Wikimedia Commons

  • “Don’t torture me until I’m as mad as yourself.”
  • “Well never mind! That is not my Heathcliffe. I shall love mine yet and take him with me—he’s in my soul.”
  • “His eyes wide, and wet at last, flashed fiercely on her, his breast heaved convulsively. An instant they held asunder; and then how they met I hardly saw, but Catherine made a spring, and he caught her, and they were locked in an embrace from which I thought my mistress would never be released alive.”

Symposium by Plato


Wikimedia Commons

  • “There are those people who are pregnant in soul, and give birth to ideas. And these people maintain a much closer communion than the parents of children. They share between them children more beautiful and more immortal.”

Tristan and Isolde by Richard Wagner


Wikimedia Commons

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare


Wikimedia Commons

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert


Wikimedia Commons

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence


Wikimedia Commons

Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Troubadour Poets


Wikimedia Commons

Final Follies by A.R. Gurney runs September 12 – October 21, 2018 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Click here for ticket information and more!

Wisdom & Inspiration from A.R. Gurney

Over his lifetime, A.R. Gurney shared many words of wisdom with audiences here at Primary Stages and at theaters across the country. Here are some of our favorite anecdotes of advice from one of the most prolific playwrights of the 20th century. (And follow us on Instagram for new wisdom each Wednesday!)

The Primary Stages production of Final Follies by A.R. Gurney runs through October 21, 2018 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Click here for ticket information and more!

All About A.R. Gurney – A History of the Prolific Playwright

A. R. Gurney wrote plays for nearly fifty years. Besides Love Letters, his more familiar ones are The Dining Room, The Cocktail Hour, and Sylvia, and is known to Primary Stages audiences for the plays Black Tie, Buffalo Gal, The Fourth Wall, and Indian Blood. He taught literature at M.I.T. for many years before turning to writing full time. Besides plays, Gurney also wrote three novels, two opera librettos, and several efforts for TV. Most of his plays have been produced Off-Broadway by such theater organizations as Primary Stages, Playwrights Horizons, Lincoln Center, and the Flea Theater. Gurney passed away June 14, 2017. He was a member of the Theatre Hall of Fame and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as father of four children, grandfather of eight grandchildren, and husband of fifty-seven years to his wife, Molly.

Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights of his career.

Gurney headshot by Walter Kurtz

A.R. Gurney


A.R. Gurney and Holland Taylor at the first reading of Love Letters


David Pittu and Sandy Duncan in Primary Stages production of The Fourth Wall

"Indian Blood" a new at Primary Stages

Jack Gilpin, Rebecca Luker, Charles Socarides, John McMartin, Pamela Payton-Wright, and Matthew Arkin in Primary Stages 2006 production of Indian Blood

Primary Stages - Black Tie

Daniel Davis and Gregg Edelman in Primary Stages production of Black Tie

A.R. Gurney - Buffalo Gal - Primary Stages

Jennifer Regan, James Waterston, and Susan Sullivan in Primary Stages production of Buffalo Gal


The cast of A.R. Gurney’s Sweet Sue


Matthew Broderick and Annaleigh Ashford in the 2015 Broadway production of Sylvia


Sarah Jessica Parker in the original production of Sylvia at Manhattan Theater Club in 1995


The Primary Stages production of Final Follies by A.R. Gurney runs through October 21, 2018 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Click here for ticket information and more!

Meet the Cast of A.R. Gurney’s Final Follies!

A.R. Gurney’s Final Follies, our first show of the 2018/19 season, has officially begun! Meet the talented actors who bring these three plays to life.

Piter MarekPITER MAREK (Howie Hale, The Rape of Bunny Stuntz; Professor Burgess, The Love Course) appeared in the recent Broadway productions of Disgraced and Cyrano de Bergerac. He has also performed in multiple seasons of Shakespeare in the Park. TV credits include multiple seasons on “The Blacklist”, as well as “Madam Secretary,” “Quantico,” “The Arrangement,” “Gone,” “Time After Time,” “Blue Bloods,” “NCIS,” “Nikita,” “Mozart in the Jungle,” “Ugly Betty,” and “The Sopranos”, “The Late Show with David Letterman.” Piter will reprise his recurring role on the final season of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”.

Betsy AidemBETSY AIDEM (Wilma Trumbo, The Rape of Bunny Stuntz; Professor Carroway, The Love Course). Recent: All The Way opposite Bryan Cranston; Beautiful; Nikolai and the Others, Road (Lincoln Center Theater); The Celebration, Dreams of Flying… (Atlantic); The Metal Children, Mary Rose (Vineyard); Crooked (WP). Film: Irrational Man, Margaret, A Vigilante, You Can Count on Me, The Bleeding House. Recent TV: “Bull,” “Madam Secretary,” “Orange is the New Black,” “The Americans,” many “Law & Orders.” With David Saint at George Street: Jolson Sings Again, God of Carnage, and Mama’s Boy. Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance.

Colin Hanlon

COLIN HANLON (Nelson, Final Follies; Mike, The Love Course). Broadway: Falsettos, Rent, Wicked (tour), and In Transit. Also: The Nerd (George Street Playhouse, dir. Kevin Cahoon); ‘Adam’ in Colman Domingo’s Dot (Vineyard, dir. Susan Stroman); Next Fall (St. Louis Rep). Off-Bway: I Love You Because and The Pirates of Penzance. TV/Film: ‘Steven’ on “Modern Family,” “Difficult People,” “The Sinner,” and the upcoming film Yes. Co-producer and star of web series “Submissions Only.”

greg side blueGREG MULLAVEY (Grandfather, Final Follies) has appeared in 100+ productions. Broadway: Rumors, Romantic Comedy, The Sisters Rosensweig. Favorite Off-Broadway: Precious Little Talent (West End Theatre), National Jewish Theatre’s The Soap Myth (Steinberg Center for Theatre), Clever Little Lies (dir. David Saint, Westside Theatre). Favorite Regional: The Remains (Studio Theatre, DC), The Price (Guthrie), ‘Lear’ in King Lear (Oklahoma Shakespeare). 100s of TV/Film credits include: Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, “Centennial,” “The Desperate,” and “iCarly.” Best known as Mary’s husband, ‘Tom’ on “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.”

Rachel NicksRACHEL NICKS (Tanisha, Final Follies; Sally, The Love Course) is excited to be making her Primary Stages debut. Regionally, she has appeared in Turning Off the Morning News (McCarter) and Skeleton Crew (The Old Globe). Her Off-Broadway credits include War (LCT3), And I and Silence (The Signature Theater Company), and The Good Negro (The Public Theater). Her television appearances include “The Affair,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Crossing Jordan,” and “Amsterdam.” She was also in the films Ball Don’t Lie and Life Support on HBO. Ms. Nicks is a graduate of The Juilliard School. 

Deborah RushDEBORAH RUSH (Bunny Stuntz, The Rape of Bunny Stuntz) is lucky to have worked in New York with great authors, including: Shakespeare (3) (Delacorte), Moliere, Wallace Shawn, and Stephen Adly Guirgis (Public). On Broadway: Michael Frayn, Noel Coward (2), Alan Ayckbourn, Wendy Wasserstein, Terrence McNally (MTC), Ethan Cohen (Atlantic), and now Pete Gurney! Films by: Woody Allen (2), Nora Ephron (2), Sidney Lumet, Herb Ross, two Franks: Oz and Perry, Jim Abrahams, John Avildsen, Miguel Arteta, Ingrid Juggerman, Ryan Fleck, Jordan Galland. TV: currently: “Orange Is The New Black” and “Billions;” formerly: “Strangers With Candy,” “Spin City,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” and many guest star roles.

Mark JunekMARK JUNEK (Walter, Final Follies). Credits include: Angels in America (Actors’ Theatre of Louisville), The Hairy Ape (Park Avenue Armory), American Son (George Street Playhouse), Frankenstein (Denver Center), The Forgotten Woman (Bay Street Theatre), After All The Terrible Things I Do (Milwaukee Rep), The Vibrator Play (Syracuse Stage), Vanya and Sonia… (Berkeley Rep), The Imaginary Invalid (Bard Summerscape), Family Play (New Ohio), The Performers (Broadway), Galileo and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (CSC). TV: “The Outs,” “Blindspot,” “Forever,” “Smash,” and “Law and Order: SVU”. Graduate of Columbia and Juilliard (Drama Division, Group 40).

Final Follies by A.R. Gurney runs September 12 – October 21, 2018 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Click here for ticket information and more!

A Note from Andrew Leynse and Shane Hudson on Final Follies

As we kickoff our 34th season, we have some words from Andrew Leynse and Shane Hudson to share with you. Continue reading to learn about what it means to be “at home with Primary Stages,” and A.R. Gurney’s longtime collaboration with Primary Stages.

A core principle of our mission at Primary Stages is to support playwrights over their careers, working to create a home where artists can return. Our collaboration with A.R. (Pete) Gurney began when we were at our original home on 45th Street. Casey Childs, our founder, had just finished working on Pete’s Far East for WNET/Thirteen and Pete gave him The Fourth Wall to produce. Pete thought it would be the perfect play for 2002 with its biting humor and political edge. David Saint signed on to direct and thus began our fruitful relationship with Pete.  

Over the years we’ve produced five more Gurney premieres: Strictly Academic, Buffalo Gal, Indian Blood, Black Tie, and now, Final Follies. Pete often told us how much he loved to be in an intimate theater and how his plays would resonate with audiences in ways that were different from large houses. Perhaps the intimacy of Off-Broadway allowed Pete to discover the most from his plays. Here, he could exercise his rebellious side, stir things up, and feel his audiences react.

Right before he passed in 2017, Pete finished Final Follies and spoke to his agent Jonathan Lomma about sending it to us. Thrilled to see a new piece of writing from Pete, we crafted a triptych of one-acts that similarly spoke to Pete’s vision and, perhaps, more to his downtown roots where he first began writing plays.

Starting with Final Follies (which Pete prophetically entitled), we then move on to The Rape of Bunny Stuntz, which was one of Pete’s earliest plays and originally performed right here at the Cherry Lane Theatre, and finally, we end with The Love Course, which Pete wrote in the early 1970s. Under David Saint’s stewardship, these plays celebrate Pete’s desire to explore a more complex side to his characters. Though Pete’s humor constantly lifts these plays up, there is a darker side to what he is exploring – issues of sexual repression and challenging one’s roots and culture are constantly at the forefront. Pete is considered to be the foremost chronicler of WASP culture and as much as he relishes its traditions, he also seeks ways to challenge the status quo. This is ultimately what made him such an important American dramatist and why we are thrilled that you are here to celebrate his body of work with us.

Andrew Leynse and Shane Hudson

Andrew LeynseShane Hudson

The Primary Stages production of Final Follies by A.R. Gurney runs through October 21, 2018 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Click here for ticket information and more!