Torch Song playwright Harvey Fierstein’s new biographical play about New York’s legendary, hat-wearing “political firebrand” Bella Abzug will make its world premiere at the Manhattan Theatre Club Off Broadway next October, with Fierstein himself taking the title role.
A solo show, Bella Bella, directed by Kimberly Senior, will begin previews Tuesday, Oct. 1 at MTC’s New York City Center Stage 1, with an opening night of Oct. 22.
The Fierstein play is one of three world premieres for the 2019-20 season announced by MTC today, along with Richard Greenberg’s The Perplexed, to be directed by Lynne Meadow; and Emily Feldman’s The Best We Could (a family tragedy), with Daniel Aukin directing.
A four-time Tony winner, Fierstein is re-teaming with MTC following 2014’s Casa Valentina. MTC describes Bella Bella as a “raucous, heart-rending and absurdly humorous solo show. Set in 1976, on the eve of her bid to become New York State’s first female Senator, Bella Bella finds this larger-than-life, truth-slinging, groundbreaking, hat-wearing icon squirreled away in the bathroom of a midtown hotel awaiting that night’s election results while a coterie of family and celebs await her entrance.”
The creative team will be announced at a later date.
Abzug was a leading and groundbreaking feminist and politician of her day, breaking into the national consciousness with her 1970 campaign slogan “This Woman’s Place Is In The House – The House Of Representatives.” Always wearing one of her trademark hats, she was such an iconic New York City figure of the ’70s that she appeared as herself in Woody Allen’s Manhattan. She died in 1998.
Greenberg’s The Perplexed begins previews on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 (opening Tuesday, March 3), also on Stage 1. Commissioned by MTC, the new work by the Take Me Out playwright is described as follows: “Two families, whose lives have been tumultuously intertwined for decades, gather in the massive library of a gaudy Fifth Avenue apartment to celebrate the nuptials of their children. Nothing goes smoothly and as the big moment approaches, the burning question is: can everyone put aside long-smoldering jealousies and deep-seated grudges and just get through the ceremony?”
Casting and the creative team will be announced at a later date.
Feldman’s The Best We Could (a family tragedy) will begin previews at New York City Center’s Stage 2 on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, opening Tuesday, May 19. The description: “A daughter’s road trip with her father becomes a theatrical journey across more than just state lines. This funny, wise, and heartbreaking debut from an exciting new writer will be brought to vibrant life by director Daniel Aukin, whom MTC audiences will remember from Fool for Love and Fulfillment Center.”
Casting and the creative team will be announced soon.
The three Off Broadway world premieres join several previously announced MTC productions for the season, including the Broadway staging of The Height of the Storm starring Jonathan Pryce and Eileen Atkins. Two additional MTC Broadway productions will be announced at a later date.