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Turning off the Morning News

Turning off the  Morning News

The award-winning playwright and New Jersey native, Christopher Durang, is back with Turning Off The Morning News - his third World Premiere commission for McCarter Theatre in Princeton. It serves as a follow up to his Tony Award-winning play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, and runs from May 4th through June 3rd.

This time around, Durang is back with a new cast of eccentric characters - starting with Cliff and Salena, whose across-the-street neighbors are somewhere between peculiar and stark raving mad.  This decidedly dark and daring comedy takes aim at today’s absurd and dangerous world.

The cast includes Jenn Harris, Rachel Nicks, Nicholas Podany, Krisine Neilsen, Robert Sella, and John Pankow.  McCarter Theatre’s Artistic Director and Resident Playwright Emily Mann directs the production.

Mann and Durang have known each other for a long time and the story of their professional collaboration and friendship will be told before each performance via a 20-minute talk led by a member of McCarter’s artistic staff.  The Inside Story, as it is called, takes place 45 minutes prior to each performance.  It reveals what inspired Durang to write the play and the hallmarks of “Durangian comedy”; Mann’s directorial vision for the play; and offers a few things to look for during the performance.

In a letter to McCarter subscribers, Emily Mann detailed the origins of her relationship with Durang and her thoughts on Turning Off The Morning News.

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“I first met Chris when we were students in William Alfred’s playwriting seminar at Harvard, and I remember Alfred predicting that Chris was going to be a new voice for his generation,” recalled Mann. “Chris’s writing was unlike anything I had ever heard before, and I was amazed by his brilliance. It was a delight when we were reconnected many years later by fellow playwright and mutual friend, Wendy Wasserstein.”

“With this reconnection, my professional collaboration and close friendship with Chris began. McCarter commissioned him to write the play that would become Miss Witherspoon, which I had the pleasure of directing here and at Playwrights Horizons in New York City in 2005. On the opening night of Miss Witherspoon, I gave Chris another commission, which brought us his enormously successful Tony Award®-winning play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Now, I am thrilled to be directing his latest world premiere and McCarter commission: Turning Off the Morning News.”

“I love working with Chris Durang. He is clear sighted and generous. An absolutely unique voice in the American theatre, Chris is able to take on disturbing questions and issues that in another writer’s hands would take the form of tragedy and spin it into comedy. This is his own particular alchemy, his singular sense of humor and extraordinary craft as a playwright and a theater maker. I am honored that McCarter is an artistic home for Chris, and it is an exciting event to bring his newest play to life on our stage.”

“At its heart, Turning Off the Morning News explores the absurdity of our modern world. A fierce exposure of the ways that our personal and societal anxieties can bring out the worst in us, it also gently reveals the antidote—reaching out beyond ourselves to find connection with others. In the end, isn’t the desire for this kind of connection why we all go to the theater? Gloria Steinem once said: 'laughter breaks out when two thoughts come together and suddenly make a third, when we understand or learn something, when we recognize a truth.' Chris’s talent for dark comedy shows us recognizable truths of modern society, while keeping us laughing throughout.” 

Turning off the  Morning News

Director Emily Mann and Playwright Christopher Durang (center) with the cast of Turning Off The Morning News.  Photo by Matt Pilsner. The play runs from May 4th through June 3rd in the Berlind Theatre.

originally published: 2018-04-24 14:06:55

Upcoming Events

Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore's "The ManOPause Boys" To Be Performed In Freehold

Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore's "The ManOPause Boys" To Be Performed In Freehold

(FREEHOLD, NJ) -- Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore’s new musical-comedy The ManOPause Boys is coming to the American Hotel in Freehold on Saturday, June 30. Sold-out audiences across the country have been loving this hysterical musical from the play-writing team the NY Times calls “A Riot!” Four guys finally open up and confess the agony and hilarity of going through MANOPAUSE. 

Luna Stage Presents 6th Annual New Moon Short Play Festival

Luna Stage Presents 6th Annual New Moon Short Play Festival

(WEST ORANGE, NJ) -- Luna Stage presents its sixth annual New Moon Short Play Festival from May 21 to May 22.  The Festival provides two evenings of dramatic and comedic excellence via readings of 15 short plays by some of New Jersey's finest writers. These short plays and monologues were selected from over 60 submissions. And, for the first time, they will have a night focusing on plays written by high school students as well.  The high school night takes place on May 23rd.

Eagle Theatre Presents The Last Five Years

Eagle Theatre Presents The Last Five Years

(HAMMONTON, NJ) -- Gorgeous melodies and a tender love story take center stage in Eagle Theatre’s upcoming production of Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years, from June 1 through July 1st, 2018. Winner of the 2002 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics, The Last 5 Years tells the story of two individuals who fall in love-and out of it again-over the course of a five year relationship. The production stars Max Meyers and Jenna Pastuszek.

Fool Moon Theatre Presents "Sylvia"

Fool Moon Theatre Presents "Sylvia"

(SOMERS POINT, NJ) -- Fool Moon Theatre presents Sylvia on selected dates from June 1-10 at the Gateway Playhouse in Somers Point. Written by award-winning playwright A.R. Gurney, the play tells the hilarious and touching story of a love triangle—a man, his wife, and a dog. It was called, “Howlingly Funny,” by the New York Post.

Event calendar
Sunday, May 20, 2018


Elvana @ The Wonder Bar, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

OH WHAT A NIGHT OF DOO WOP & ROCK N ROLL VOLUME II @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 3:00pm

The British Invasion Years Dinner Show @ iPlay America, Freehold - 4:30pm


Dean Shot's Tribute to Howlin' Wolf @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:00pm


I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change @ Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, Budd Lake - 2:00pm

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee @ The Ritz Theatre, Haddon Twp - 2:00pm

Issei, He Say @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 2:00pm

The Nerd @ George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick - 2:00pm

Turning Off the Morning News @ Berlind Theatre @ McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton - 2:00pm and 7:30pm

Appropriate @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 3:00pm

Aspire PAC Auditions - Disney's The Lion King JR./Thoroughly Modern Millie @ Our Lady of Consolation (Ministry Center - Wayne), Wayne - 10:00am


New Jersey Ballet’s Cinderella @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 1:30pm and 4:30pm


The Illusionists – Live from Broadway @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 3:00pm and 7:00pm

View all events


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