Off- Broadway Premiere of an inspirational new play by Vivian Neuwirth opens at 59E59 Theaters
March 5, 2020: Mr. Toole, written by Vivian Neuwirth and directed by Cat Parker, opened at 59E59 Theaters. The play, produced by Articulate Theatre Company, in association with Lagniappe Productions, will play a limited engagement through Sunday, March 15.
The teacher a student will never forget becomes a legend the world will always remember. Before he was a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, John Kennedy Toole (The Confederacy of Dunces) was a teacher. That’s how Lisette, one of his students at an all-girls college in New Orleans knew him and loved him. Through her eyes, amid the music, magic, and mystery of the Big Easy we, too, learn to love “Mr. Toole.”
Playwright Vivian Neuwirth was one of Toole’s students when he taught literature at St. Mary’s Dominican College in New Orleans, during which time he was writing what would be his first and only novel. “He was an amazing teacher,” says Neuwirth. “He had such theatrical flair.”
While she had heard about his death, she never realized he had written a book, until she stumbled on A Confederacy of Dunces in the window of a bookstore. “His name leaped out at me,” she says. “I dove into the store, bought the book, took it home and devoured it. It was like I had him back again.” After reading the book, Neuwirth was inspired to write a play about this extraordinary man.
The cast features John Ingle (The Death and Life of Jesse James with the Lion Theater Company); Linda Purl (Broadway’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; Getting and Spending); Julia Randall (Off Broadway debut); Stephen Schnetzer (Oslo and The Waverly Gallery on Broadway); Ryan Spahn (How to Load a Musket at 59E59); and Thomas G. Waites (cult-film The Warriors, Broadway’s Search and Destroy).
The design team includes George Allison (set/video/sound designer) and Kia Rogers (lighting designer). The Production Stage Manager is Liz Richards Krebs.
The performance schedule is Tuesday – Saturday at 7:30 pm; Sunday at 2:30 pm. There is an added performance on Saturday, March 7 at 2:30 pm. Performances are at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison). Single tickets are $25 ($20 for 59E59 Members). Tickets are available by calling the 59E59 Box Office at 646892-7999 or by visiting www.59e59.org. The running time is 120 minutes, including intermission.
Photography: Barry Gordin