Tony and Academy Award Winner MERCEDES RUEHL Joins Harvey Fierstein's TORCH SONG

June 28, 2017 – Second Stage Theater (Carole Rothman, Artistic Director; Casey Reitz, Executive Director) has announced that Mercedes Ruehl, winner of the Tony Award, Academy Award, and Golden Globe Award, will star opposite the previously announcedMichael Urie in the upcoming production of Harvey Fierstein’s modern classic, TORCH SONG, directed by Moisés Kaufman. Ms. Ruehl will play “Ma,” the mother of Arnold Beckoff, played by Urie. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.

TORCH SONG will begin previews September 26, 2017 at the Tony Kiser Theater (305 West 43rd street) and will officially open on October 19, 2017. 

Tickets go on sale to the general public beginning Monday, July 24 at 1PM ET. Subscriptions are available now starting at $345, inclusive of all five productions in the 2017/18 season. For subscription and ticket information, please visit 2ST.com or call the Second Stage Box Office at 212-246-4422

MERCEDES RUEHL is an award-winning stage, film and television actress. She won an Academy® Award and a Golden Globe®, as well as a Chicago Film Critics® Award and Los Angeles Film Critics® Award for her role as Anne Napolitano in Terry Gilliam’s film The Fisher King. Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers earned Ruehl Tony,® Helen Hayes, and Drama Desk®Awards. She received Tony nominations for her roles in The Shadowbox and Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Goat, or Who is Sylvia. She won Obie® Awards for Woman Before A Glass, a one-woman show about the life of actress Peggy Guggenheim, as well as Christopher Durang’s The Marriage of Bette and Boo. She was awarded The Clarence Derwent Award for creating the role of Kate in Other People’s Money, and a Drama Desk nomination for the role of Serafina opposite Anthony LaPaglia in Tennessee Williams’ The Rose Tattoo. She starred in Richard Greenberg’s The American Plan at the Manhattan Theatre Club and in the premiere of Edward Albee’s The Occupant as Louise Nevelson at The Signature Theatre. At The Old Vic in London she co-starred with Jeff Goldblum in Neil Simon’s Prisoner of Second Avenue. Most recently she revived Full Gallop, a one-woman show about Diana Vreeland at The Old Globe in San Diego. Ruehl came to popular attention with her portrayal as the gun-toting wife of a Mafia don in 1988’s Married to the Mob, which earned her a National Society of Film Critics® Award. Her other film credits include Bigopposite Tom Hanks; the romantic drama For Roseanna opposite Jean Reno; Gurinder Chadha’s What’s Cooking?More Dogs than Bones; Another YouHeartburn84 Charing Cross RoadLeader of the Band; The Secret of My Succe$sSlaves of New YorkCrazy People; and Chu and Blossom. Her television credits include guest & recurring roles on “Life in Pieces,” “NCIS,” “Mysteries of Laura,” “Two Broke Girls,” “Power,” “Luck” (series regular), “Law & Order: SVU,” “Subway Stories: Tales from The Underground,” “Indictment: The McMartin Trial,” “North Shore Fish,” “Psych,” “Monday Mornings,” “Bad Apple,” “The Lost Child,” “Star Spangled Banners,” “Frasier,”  & starred in HBO’s Golden Globe and Emmy winning telefilm “Gia.”

TORCH SONG will feature scenic design by David Zinn; costume design by Clint Ramos; lighting design by David Lander; and sound design by Fitz Patton.

ABOUT TORCH SONG

It’s 1979 in New York City and Arnold Beckoff is on a quest for love, purpose and family. He’s fierce in drag and fearless in crisis, and he won’t stop until he achieves the life he desires as a doting husband and a Jewish mother. Now, Arnold is back…and he’s here to sing you a torch song. The Tony Award®-winning play that forever changed the trajectory of Broadway returns for a new generation.

Torch Song Trilogy opened on Broadway at the Little Theater (now the Hayes Theater) on June 10, 1982, where it enjoyed a groundbreaking run, earning Tony Awards for Best Play and Best Actor in a Play (Mr. Fierstein) and running for 1,222 performances, closing on May 19, 1985.  The play has been produced extensively across the country and around the world, including productions in London’s West End and Menier Chocolate Factory.  It was also turned into a 1988 film, starring Mr. Fierstein, Matthew Broderick, and Anne Bancroft, directed by Paul Bogart.  Prior to its move to Broadway, Torch Song Trilogy ran off-Broadway at the Richard Allen Center, produced by The Glines, and also at La Mama and The Actor’s Playhouse.

ABOUT SECOND STAGE THEATER

Under the artistic direction of Carole Rothman, SECOND STAGE THEATER produces a diverse range of premieres and new interpretations of America’s best contemporary theatre, including 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner Between Riverside and Crazy by Stephen Adly Guirgis; 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner Next to Normal by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey; 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegria Hudes; The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown; Dogfight by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Peter Duchan; Dear Evan Hansen by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, and Steven Levenson; By the Way, Meet Vera Stark by Lynn Nottage; Trust and Lonely, I’m Not by Paul Weitz; The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz; Everyday Rapture and Whorl Inside a Loop by Dick Scanlan and Sherie Rene Scott; Let Me Down Easy by Anna Deavere Smith; Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo; Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl; The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane; Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin; Jitney by August Wilson; Jar the Floor by Cheryl L. West; Uncommon Women and Others by Wendy Wasserstein; Crowns by Regina Taylor; Saturday Night by Stephen Sondheim; Afterbirth: Kathy & Mo’s Greatest Hits by Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy; This Is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan; Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants by Ricky Jay; Coastal Disturbances by Tina Howe; A Soldier’s Play by Charles Fuller; Little Murders by Jules Feiffer; The Good Times Are Killing Me by Lynda Barry; and Tiny Alice by Edward Albee. 

The company’s more than 130 citations include six 2017 Tony Awards for Dear Evan Hansen(Best Musical, Best Lead Actor in a Musical, Ben Platt; Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Rachel Bay Jones; Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Orchestrations), the 2009 Tony Awards for Best Lead Actress in a Musical (Alice Ripley, Next to Normal) and Best Score (Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, Next to Normal); the 2007 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play (Julie White, The Little Dog Laughed); the 2005 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical (Rachel Sheinkin, …Spelling Bee) and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Dan Fogler, …Spelling Bee); the 2002 Tony Award for Best Director of a Play (Mary Zimmerman forMetamorphoses); the 2002 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Body of Work, 30 Obie Awards, eight Outer Critics Circle Awards, two Clarence Derwent Awards, 13 Drama Desk Awards, nine Theatre World Awards, 19 Lucille Lortel Awards, the Drama Critics Circle Award and 23 AUDELCO Awards.  

In 1999, Second Stage Theater opened The Tony Kiser Theater, its state-of-the-art, 296-seat theatre, designed by renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas.  In 2002, Second Stage launched “Second Stage Theater Uptown” series to showcase the work of up and coming artists at the McGinn/Cazale Theater.  The Theatre supports artists through several programs that include residencies, fellowships and commissions, and engages students and community members through education and outreach programs.

SECOND STAGE THEATER ON BROADWAY

Second Stage Theater purchased the historic Helen Hayes Theater, located at 240 W. 44thStreet, in 2015.  The company will continue to lease and operate their original theaters on the city’s Upper West Side and in Midtown Manhattan.  Second Stage Theater has enlisted David Rockwell and The Rockwell Group to make renovations and updates to the 104 year old landmark building.

Second Stage Theater’s inaugural Broadway season will begin in March 2018 with Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero, directed by Trip Cullman and starring Michael Cera and Chris Evans in his Broadway debut. The season will also include the New York Premiere of Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men, directed by Anna D. Shapiro.

This inaugural season kicks off Second Stage’s mission of creating and building a permanent home on Broadway dedicated exclusively to American plays and living American playwrights.  

Second Stage Theater is investing in its future on Broadway by co-commissioning established playwrights through its STAGE-2-STAGE program, launching with Los Angeles’s Center Theatre Group.  This ongoing program will provide a pathway to Broadway, with each play receiving an initial production in Los Angeles at one of CTG’s three theatres before moving to New York.  The commissioned playwrights are Jon Robin Baitz, Will Eno, Lisa Kron, Young Jean Lee, Lynn Nottage, and Paula Vogel.

Second Stage Theater is also co-commissioning a new work from Bess Wohl for Broadway, through a partnership with the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and new works for Broadway from Lydia R. Diamond and Dominique Morisseau, which will be developed in association with Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theater.

SECOND STAGE THEATER OFF-BROADWAY

Second Stage Theater’s upcoming off-Broadway productions include the New York premiere of Bruce Norris’s A Parallelogram, directed by Michael Greif, beginning previews July 11 and opening August 2.   

Next season will also bring the New York premiere of Tracy Letts’ Mary Page Marlowe in June of 2018.  

For more information, please visit www.2ST.com

Trevor Chauvin