The Streaming Experience: MTC’s Three Days of Rain
Here we go again. I say that with pleasure and with a bit of pain, to be frank. After a year of theatrical shutdowns, I’m growing increasingly weary of Zoom-like play presentations. Even the really good ones, with exquisite casts, all lined up with the best of intentions. I tune in, cause I want to see these plays or with these actors, because I know I would if they were gathering together for a stage production. I would be desperate to know I had a few seats set aside for me. Without question. And when we are thinking about MTC‘s new Curtain Call series that is presenting a virtual reading of Richard Greenberg’s sophisticated and romantic Pulitzer-Prize-nominated play, Three Days of Rain, that sentiment couldn’t ring more true. Especially so with this dream cast.
Back streaming by popular demand now through March 21st, Manhattan Theatre Club is presenting Three Days of Rain, as it strives to celebrate a variety of shows from its past in new digital productions. Gathering together for our rapturous pleasure, the incredibly talented stars of the original MTC production, Patricia Clarkson (“The Station Agent“; Broadway’s The Elephant Man), John Slattery (“Spotlight“; ‘Mad Men‘), and Bradley Whitford (“Saving Mr. Banks“; ‘The West Wing‘) have joined once again to bring this acclaimed drama out front and center for us all to witness, investigate, and dissect. It’s a powerful arrangement, these talented three, playing off one another with an ease that only a band of true pros can achieve with such grace. It’s a riveting dance, set in New York, and spanning two generations of interconnectability. It’s a modern construct and design that I first saw performed on Broadway with arguably the most famous star-studded production to date, with Julia Roberts making her stage debut, alongside Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper. It was greeted with not the greatest of reactions from the press, but not hash ones either for Roberts and crew. Ben Brantley, of The New York Times stated: “Some movie fans may have the same fear about seeing Ms. Roberts in the flesh. They shouldn’t. She looks every inch the magnetic (if theatrically challenged) movie star. Fans of Mr. Greenberg, on the other hand, should definitely stay home.” (Brantley, Ben. “Theater Review – ‘Three Days of Rain’ The New York Times, April 20, 2006). I would have to concur. Clarkson, and the boys, Slattery and Whitford (although they almost look too alike to keep straight half the time) are by far the better casting choices in terms of pure theatrical talent and finesse. They find pleasure and compromise in the most artful and sublimely subtle ways.
Three Days of Rain delivers us gracefully to the siblings Nan and Walker reconnecting with their childhood friend Pip when they come home to settle their father’s estate. It’s tense with complicated intrigue, but with the discovery of a diary, floodgates of emotion bring us all back to a time in their parents’ lives, in the 1960s, in order to unpack the truth of the forever legacy that connects them all together. The play received its Off-Broadway premiere at the Manhattan Theatre Club, at City Center Stage II, running from November 12, 1997 to January 4, 1998. Directed by Evan Yionoulis (MTC’s The Violet Hour; TFANA’s He Brought Her Heart Back…), the same cast as this reading dominated the stage, delivering a production that won the 1998 Obie Award, Direction, and was 1998 Drama Critics’ Circle Award Runner-Up, Best American Play. The play also was nominated for the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Three Days of Rain is a intense and intricate play, written by Richard Greenberg (The Violet Hour; Take Me Out) that was commissioned and produced by South Coast Repertory in 1997, with a title that supposedly comes from a W. S. Merwin’s poem, “For the Anniversary of My Death” (1967). Three Days of Rain will stream on demand from Thursday, March 11, through Sunday, March 21. Evan Yionoulis directs the Manhattan Theatre Club presentation.
For tickets to and information about both shows, click here.
Manhattan Theatre Club will also be revisiting some of their greatest hits and rare gems with their monthly series, The Show Goes On. In 2014, MTC produced the world premiere of the delicious Casa Valentina written by Harvey Fierstein and directed by Joe Mantello. Tune into the premiere on MTC‘s YouTube channel on Thursday, March 18 at 12pm EST to relive the magnificent production through footage and a special reunion with Fierstein and cast members Reed Birney, John Cullum, Gabriel Ebert, Tom McGowan, Patrick Page, Nick Westrate, and Mare Winningham.