The Hypocrites’ lauded 2008 revival of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town opens off-Broadway 2/26, at the Barrow Street Theatre in Greenwich Village. Directed by Chicagoan David Cromer–who also appears onstage as the Stage Manager, narrating Wilder’s story of life and death in a small New Hampshire town at the start of the 20th century–the production is a joint effort between Barrow Street and producer Jean Doumanian, a former Saturday Night Live writer-producer who helped bring Steppenwolf’s August: Osage County to Broadway last season.
When Our Town opened here at the Chopin Theatre last year, Reader critic Zac Thompson wrote that “Cromer’s production. . . strips the play of the Norman Rockwell sheen it has acquired over the years without succumbing to the hip but fatal temptation of applying irony or cynicism.”
The cast of the New York remount includes former Chicagoan Jonathan Mastro. As blogged by Tony Adler recently, Mastro was scheduled to organize a special, 20th-anniversary edition of the Neo-Futurists’ Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. But when off-Broadway beckoned, he was faced with an irreconcilable scheduling conflict and had to bow out of his TMLMTBGB commitment.
Interestingly, some of Cromer’s earliest directing efforts here were seen at the now-defunct Big Game Theater in Rogers Park, co-founded by Anna D. Shapiro, who is directing Lookingglass Theatre‘s new production of–yes–Our Town, opening 2/21. Cromer and Shapiro both studied theater at Columbia College (where I teach).