MCC Theater has confirmed that its previously announced benefit reading of a new Neil LaBute play, Reasons to be Pretty Happy, will be led by star of stage and screen—and frequent LaBute collaborator—Paul Rudd, who previously worked with LaBute on the critically acclaimed play, The Shape of Things in both New York and London as well as the film adaptation. He also starred on stage in LaBute’s bash – in New York and Los Angeles.
The one-night-only world premiere developmental reading is now set for Sunday, September 11, 2016 at 7:30PM at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, and will benefit the nonprofit’s robust education and playwright development programs. (This replaces the previously announced date of Monday, June 20, 2016.) Additional casting will be announced at a later date. For more info, visit www.mcctheater.org.
Tickets are currently on sale for the benefit reading. Prices range from $100 for show-only tickets or $250/$350 for preferred/premium seating plus access to a special post-show reception with LaBute, the cast, and MCC leadership. For tickets, visit www.mcctheater.org or call (212) 352-3101.
MCC’s Playwright-in-Residence since 2005, Neil LaBute premiered the first two plays in his ‘Reasons’ trilogy, Reasons to be Pretty and Reasons to be Happy, with the company in 2008 and 2013, respectively. The former transferred to Broadway and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play. MCC’s reading of Reasons to be Pretty Happy marks the first of two LaBute plays the company will premiere this year. It was recently announced that his newest completed work, All The Ways To Say I Love You, will kick off MCC’s upcoming 30th Anniversary Season on September 6 in a production starring multi-Tony and Emmy Award winner Judith Light in a solo performance directed by Tony nominee Leigh Silverman.
“As a leading voice in contemporary theater who has premiered 10 full length plays and a number of other short works under our auspices, Neil LaBute exemplifies the strong and enduring relationships that MCC fosters with artists,” said Co-Artistic Director Robert LuPone, speaking on behalf of the company’s artistic leadership. “Our work together over the years and on the ‘Reasons’ trilogy in particular has been incredibly exciting and rewarding. We are so proud to present his new work at this point in its life in a reading that advances our long and fruitful history of collaboration with this important and singular artist.”
“I’m pleased to have the world premiere reading of my latest play at MCC, a place that has supported my work for nearly fifteen years,” said Neil LaBute. “Having led master classes for students in the Theater’s Youth Company, I’m so proud this reading will support MCC’s vital work nurturing the next generation of theater talent through its education and playwright development programs.”
Set on the night of their 20th anniversary high school reunion, Reasons to be Pretty Happy follows Greg and Steph as they revisit their home town after having moved to New York. Kent and Carly are suspicious of their reasons for returning and the four friends dance (sometimes literally) through a series of encounters at their school gym as they try to rekindle old friendships, struggle with their futures (together and separately) and reveal secrets to one another that might have been better left buried beneath a pile of yearbooks. The play is a funny, sad, silly and sobering look at friendships and loves that have weathered and lasted for a long, long time—some even past their due dates.