Manhattan Theatre Club, which recently revealed the bulk of its 2019–2020 season, has added three additional world-premiere plays to its upcoming season. Newly announced for their Off-Broadway slate are Bella Bella, a solo show written and performed by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein, Richard Greenberg's comedy-drama The Perplexed, and The Best We Could (a family tragedy) by Emily Feldman.
In Bella Bella, four-time Tony winner Fierstein brings to life American lawyer, politician, and social activist Bella Abzug. Set in 1976 on the eve of her bid to become New York State's first female Senator, the play finds this larger-than-life icon squirreled away in the bathroom of a midtown hotel awaiting that night’s election results.
"Bella gave up her seat in Congress to run for Senate and the Democratic Party destroyed her chances," Fierstein told Playbill in an earlier interview. "She lost the primary by less than 1 percent... As Gloria [Steinem] said to me, 'Had she not run for Senate, she could have been the first woman President. She definitely would have been the first woman Speaker of the House.'
"The reason I wrote it was because I saw what [the Democratic Party] did to Hillary [Clinton]. And they did the same to Bella."
Bella Bella will be directed by Kimberly Senior (Disgraced, The Niceties) at New York City Center – Stage I, beginning performances October 1 ahead of an October 22 opening.
Next winter, MTC will present Greenberg's The Perplexed, directed by Artistic Director Lynne Meadow (The Cake) at New York City Center – Stage I. Set inside a gaudy Fifth Avenue apartment, the new play sees two families—whose lives have been tumultuously intertwined for decades—gather to celebrate the marriage of their children. The production will begin February 11, 2020, and officially open March 3.
Next spring will bring the world premiere of Feldman's The Best We Could (a family tragedy), directed by Daniel Aukin (Fool For Love, Skintight) at New York City Center – Stage II. In the new work, a daughter’s road trip with her father becomes a theatrical journey across more than just state lines.
Casting and complete creative teams for all three plays will be announced at a later date.
The three production join the previously announced American premiere of The Height of the Storm by Florian Zeller, translated by Christopher Hampton, directed by Jonathan Kent, and starring Jonathan Pryce and Eileen Atkins on Broadway. Off-Broadway, MTC has the co-world premiere of Poor Yella Rednecks by Qui Nguyen and the world premiere of The New Englanders by Jeff Augustin.
Additional reporting by Ruthie Fierberg.