Transport Group, the Drama Desk and OBIE award-winning theatre company, will present the world premiere of House for Sale by Jonathan Franzen, adapted for the stage and directed by Daniel Fish, beginning previews October 13, 2012 at The Duke on 42nd Street, a New 42nd Street project. The opening night is scheduled for October 21, 2012. House for Sale is scheduled to run through November 18, 2012.
House for Sale is the first work by National Book Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist Jonathan Franzen (Freedom, The Corrections) to be presented on stage.
Daniel Fish (Charles L. Mee’s Paradise Park and The Chocolate Factory’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again) has adapted Franzen’s essay (from the collection The Discomfort Zone) for the stage and will direct.
House for Sale follows Franzen as he travels to his childhood home in Missouri to sell the family house following his mother’s death. Beset by memory and feeling a keen burden to sell the property for a price his exacting mother would accept, Franzen purges the home of personal artifacts, unearths hidden mini-treasures, and selects the realtor who will sell this reliquary of family memories. Exploring ideas of change, loss, and the value of the ‘quintessential American Dream,’ House for Sale is a daring exploration of the merging of art forms as well as an examination of the very essence of the human condition.
The cast of House for Sale will be Rob Campbell (Translations, In the Blood), Merritt Janson (As You Like It, Paradise Lost), Lisa Joyce (“Boardwalk Empire,” La Bete), Christina Rouner (Coram Boy, The Duchess of Malfi), and Michael Rudko (The Best Man, Titus Andronicus).
The scenic design for House for Sale is by Laura Jellinek; costume design is by Therese Wadden; lighting design is by Thomas Dunn; sound design is by Daniel Kluger; video projections are by Andrew Lazarow. Polly Pen has written an original score for the production; the musical director is Katya Stanislavskaya.
Jonathan Franzen is the author of four novels—The Corrections, The Twenty-Seventh City, Strong Motion, and Freedom—and three works of nonfiction—How to Be Alone, The Discomfort Zone and Farther Away, all published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Franzen is a National Book Award Winner, James Tait Black Memorial Prize winner, Pulitzer Prize finalist, and has had works appear on The New York Times Best Books of the Year list. He lives in New York City and Santa Cruz, California.
Daniel Fish is a New York based artist working in theatre, opera and film. He received his BS in 1989 from the department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University, where he was exposed to many diverse ways of making live performance. An interest in language and poetry led him to assist Michael Kahn on classical plays at The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC, where he was the Assistant Director from 1990-1994. In the late 90's he began a freelance career directing innovative and modern productions of classical plays at theaters in the U.S. and abroad including the McCarter Theatre (Hamlet), Yale Repertory Theatre (Tartuffe), Classic Stage Company, The Shakespeare Theatre, and the California Shakespeare Theater. This led to work on contemporary language-driven plays, such as the 2001 premiere of Charles L. Mee's True Love which the New York Times called "a mesmerizing piece of work" and "the most inventive directorial effort of the year", the 2004 premiere of Joanna Laurens' Poor Beck at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the 2008 premiere of Mee’s Paradise Park at Signature Theater and Sheila Callaghan's We Are Not These Hands at the Düsseldorfer Shauspielhaus. Most recently Fish has been creating new work in theatre and film from sources as varied as Shakespeare's plays, Hollywood melodrama, “The Phil Donahue Show,” and Elliott Smith's album “From a Basement on a Hill.” In January 2011, his stage version of the film Bigger Than Life, Tom Ryan Thinks He’s James Mason Starring in a Movie by Nicholas Ray premiered at the Incubator Arts Project and was named one of Time Out New York's top 10 shows of 2011. Also in 2011, Fish completed work on his first film, The Dollar General. His latest project, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, is based on audio recordings of David Foster Wallace reading his work, was developed through a residency at The Baryshnikov Arts Center, and played a sold out run at The Chocolate Factory. Daniel has taught directing and design at the Yale School of Drama, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Princeton University, University of California San Diego, and Bard College.
Founded in 2001, Transport Group, under the leadership of Jack Cummings III, Artistic Director, and Lori Fineman, Executive Director, is a not-for-profit theatre company that stages new works and re-imagined revivals by American writers. Their visually progressive productions of emotionally classic stories explore the challenges of relationships and identity in America. Transport Group is the winner of a special Drama Desk Award for its “breadth of vision and its presentation of challenging productions.” Transport Group presented its premiere production in 2002: Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, which featured older actors in the roles of Emily and George and a twelve-year-old girl as the Stage Manager. Its second production, Requiem for William, an evening of seven seldom produced plays by William Inge, that featured a cast of 26 as well as original songs, premiered in 2003. In 2004 the company presented the first New York revival of Michael John LaChiusa’s First Lady Suite, which received rave reviews, played to sold-out houses, and earned two Drama Desk Award nominations including Outstanding Revival of a Musical. Other productions include the world premiere of the musical The Audience, which featured a cast of 46 actors and earned three Drama Desk Award nominations, including Outstanding Musical; Normal, a new musical about a mother’s battle to save her daughter from anorexia; cul-de-sac, a new play by Tony Award nominee John Cariani; the first New York revival of Tad Mosel’s Pulitzer Prize play, All the Way Home; the 50th anniversary, OBIE-winning production of William Inge’s The Dark at the Top of the Stairs; the world premiere musicals Crossing Brooklyn, Marcy in the Galaxy, and Being Audrey, and the first New York revival of Irwin Shaw’s Bury the Dead. Both First Lady Suite and Bury the Dead were filmed for the New York Performing Arts Library’s Theatre on Film and Tape Archive at Lincoln Center. In 2010 Transport Group presented a sold-out, extended engagement of Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band, which received an OBIE Award and was nominated for five 2010 Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Revival of a Play—the most for an off-Broadway play. Transport Group’s productions of See Rock City and Other Destinations by Brad Alexander and Adam Mathias, and Hello Again by Michael John LaChiusa combined for eleven 2011 Drama Desk Award nominations and one win. Transport Group’s production of Lysistrata Jones, by Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn, opened to rave reviews, played to sell-out houses, and transferred to Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre. The company’s most recent productions include a critically acclaimed run of The Patsy and Jonas at The Duke on 42nd Street, starring OBIE winner David Greenspan and Michael John LaChiusa’s world premiere musical, Queen of the Mist, winner of the 2012 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New off-Broadway Musical.