Reasons to Be Happy Review - World Premiere at MCC Theater

Hurry this could be your last chance at happiness. Or in the least to see MCC Theater’s World Premiere of Neil LaBute’s  Reasons to Be Happy. It is closing on the 29th of June.

 

Reasons to Be Happy

 

You know the old saying “run don’t walk”? Well RUN right now to your fave form of technology and buy tickets. This production is a Fab.

 

Written and directed by LaBute, Reasons to Be Happy has been hailed by the NY Times as having a “dynamite cast”. Other reviews praise it as “crisply acted”, “terrifically entertaining”, “intense, funny and touching” and as “the most wining romantic comedy of the summer”. I’m a fan of LaBute and had high expectations. He didn’t disappoint. The minute the lights went down the electrical energy went zipping through the theater and it held steady through the entire show. The acting was sharp, lively and on point. The casting – beautiful. Sets, lighting, costumes all were well blended into creating a real life feel to the characters and their inhabited world.  Seriously, you don’t have much time left stop reading and go get your tickets. But do come back after and finish my article please.

 

Jenna Fischer, Josh Hamilton and Leslie Bibb

 

Reasons to Be Happy is a companion piece to LaBute’s critically-acclaimed award-winning play, Reasons to Be Pretty, first produced at MCC Theater in 2008 before moving to Broadway where it was nominated for three 2009 Tony Awards, including Best Play. 

 

 

Josh Hamilton and Jenna Fischer

 

LaBute’s Reasons to Be Happy begins three years after a contentious break-up, with Steph and Greg wondering if they can make a fresh go of it.  Trouble is, she’s married to someone else and he’s just embarked on a relationship with Steph’s best friend, Carly, a single mom whose jealous ex-husband, Kent, has trouble articulating his feelings – navigating the rocky landscape of conflicting agendas and exploding emotions isn’t going to be easy for any of them.  Reasons to Be Happy is a funny, surprising, and poignant new play about the choices and sacrifices we are willing to make in the pursuit of that often elusive ideal: happiness.

 

Josh Hamilton and Jenna Fischer

 

Emmy Award® nominee Jenna Fischer, made her Off-Broadway debut, in Reasons to Be Happy right after the ninth and final season of NBC’s smash hit “The Office” came to a close.  Also making her Off-Broadway debut is Leslie Bibb, who has appeared in films such as Iron Man and Talladega Nights and on television in ABC’s “GCB” and The CW’s “Popular,” among many others. Both are join by stage veteran Josh Hamilton, who has appeared on Broadway in the Tony Award®-winning hits The Coast of Utopia and Proof; and Fred Weller, an MCC alum who also starred on Broadway in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Take Me Out as well as acclaimed revivals of Edward Albee’s Seascape and David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross.

 

 

Leslie Bibb and Fred Weller in a scene

 

Prolific playwright and filmmaker Neil LaBute is the author of the renowned plays The Shape of Things, Fat Pig, and Reasons to Be Pretty, the latter of which served as his Broadway debut in 2009, for which he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Play.  On stage, he previously directed his plays The Mercy Seat, Wrecks, and The Shape of Things.  For film, LaBute wrote and directed the Cannes Palme d’Or finalist Nurse Betty, Your Friends & Neighbors, The Shape of Things, and In the Company of Men, for which he won the Independent Spirit Award and New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best First Feature.  He also directed the hit dark comedy Death at a FuneralLaBute is currently the Playwright-in-Residence at MCC Theater.  This year marks the 10th anniversary of his relationship with MCC, with whom he has collaborated on 7 full-length plays.

 

 

Reasons to Be Happy features set design by Neil Patel of Broadway’s Side Man; costume design by Sarah Holden, who also designed LaBute’s reasons to be pretty; lighting design by Ben Stanton, who won the Lortel Award for The Whipping Man; and sound design by Robert Kaplowitz, who won a Tony Award® for his design of Fela.           

 

Josh Hamilton and Jenna Fischer

 

Performances are at the Lucille Lortel Theater (121 Christopher Street, NYC).  All performances of Reasons to Be Happy will offer $25 Under 30 seating, with Rush seats available two hours prior to each curtain, pending availability, for $25 to patrons 29 years old or younger on the day of the performance. Advanced $25 Under 30 seating is also offered online for each performance, with tickets available for pick-up at will call with valid ID.  One ticket per ID.  No exceptions.  Additionally, $20. Student Rush tickets for full-time high school and college students, 20 minutes before curtain (cash only) with valid ID. General tickets are $69-$89 and are available by visiting www.mcctheater.org or calling 212-352-3101.

 

 

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