Molly Smith is helping to light the fuse of an explosive new play headed to Broadway. The Artistic Director of Arena Stage will be making her Broadway directorial debut with The Velocity of Autumn that will bow on Broadway in spring, 2013.
Smith describes the script as “a beautiful new play by Eric Coble.” A 90-minute dramatic comedy, The Velocity of Autumn focuses on a woman’s cry for freedom. Alexandra – Estelle Parsons – is an 80-year old artist struggling as her family wishes to place her in a nursing home. She takes matters into her own hands to protect herself.
“Picture this 80 year-old woman, sitting in her apartment dressed for tea, threatening to blow up the building” with homemade Molotov cocktails.
“And then in her window, in climbs her son she has not seen in years.” The play goes on to examine the indignities of aging, the nature of family, and a fair share of explosive emotions.
It was DC writer/director and Broadway producer Larry Kaye who invited Smith to helm the play’s Broadway debut. “I consider Molly a very clever and resourceful director; she is perfect for developing the important nuances of these characters,” Kaye told us this morning. “I’m a huge fan of hers, so it was a natural choice.”
Kaye has assembled a stellar cast for the production: Academy Award-winner Estelle Parsons and two-time Tony Award-winner Stephen Spinella. “To have the actors of this stature, it’s really remarkable,” said Smith.
The Velocity of Autumn had its world premiere in April, 2011, at the Boise Contemporary Theater in Idaho. Last April, Cleveland’s Beck Center for the Arts produced a sold-out run of the play.
Ohio-based Coble has a trio of plays centered on the free-spirited character Alexandra, seen at different points in the life. In A Girl’s Gift to Coffee, she is a barista in her twenties. A middle aged Alexandra is the focus of Graphic Depictions, which will have its world premiere at Boise Contemporary Theater, April, 2013.
For the upcoming Broadway premiere, Smith will have a distinguished team of designers as collaborators.
Scenic design will be by Tony award winner Eugene Lee, winner of the Tony Award for best design for Wicked. Lighting design will be by Howell Binkley, a Tony winner for his design for Jersey Boys. Sound designer Darron L. West took home his own Tony last spring, for Peter and the Star Catcher. They are joined by costume designer Linda Cho completing the team.
“We have really great designers, I am really looking forward to working with all of them,” said Smith.
With all the players in place, Kaye is actively talking with investors in both DC and New York. “It’s going very well.” That’s an informed opinion from the Bethesda-based attorney. His most recent Broadway producing credits include How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying and American Idiot.
“The next step is finding the right theatre. It needs to fit the intimacy of this explosive story,” Smith concluded. Kaye predicts a venue will become available in January and they can begin preparing for an April, 2013 opening.