“My Name Is Rachel Corrie” to be Staged Off Broadway in April

ArtsBeat

“My Name Is Rachel Corrie,” a one-woman drama about a pro-Palestinian activist, will be staged Off Broadway this spring for the first time since an earlier production nine years ago caused an uproar in some corners of the New York theater world. A spokesman for the show announced on Wednesday that the play would run April 2-12 at the Culture Project’s Lynn Redgrave Theater in the East Village.

Based on the writings of Ms. Corrie, a 23-year-old American who was killed in 2003 by an Israeli Army bulldozer while protesting the razing of a house in Gaza, the play was originally mounted at London’s Royal Court Theater in 2005 and received a warm reception. The actor Alan Rickman had worked with a journalist, Katherine Viner, in assembling and editing the script.

Executives at a prominent Off Broadway company, New York Theater Workshop, then made plans to mount the play on its stage in 2006, only to face questions and concerns from board members, religious leaders and others, including the rabbi of one board member. Soon after, the workshop’s leaders announced they were delaying the production to address the concerns and organize nightly talks so audiences could express their feelings after seeing the play. But the Royal Court offered a different account, saying the New York Theater Workshop had reneged on its deal to produce the work. Famous theater artists like Tony Kushner, Harold Pinter and Vanessa Redgrave criticized the theater company for censorship and cowardice. The play ended up receiving a commercial production in the fall of 2006 at the Minetta Lane Theater, earning mixed reviews.

The new production will be directed by Jonathan Kane, a New York native who works frequently in Sun Valley, Idaho. Mr. Kane’s production company, Sawtooth Productions, is financing the commercial run, which will include an audience talkback on April 10 – Ms. Corrie’s birthday – that will include members of her family. Charlotte Hemmings, an actress who has worked with Mr. Kane in Sun Valley, will play Ms. Corrie.

The show’s spokesman said that Mr. Kane mounted the play three years ago in Sun Valley and that Ms. Corrie’s relatives came to see it, and they all remained close. Mr. Kane, in a statement, said: “I am so excited to bring this amazing story of a young woman that paid the ultimate price for literally standing up for what she believed in. This play seems even more timely now as the divides in our society continue to plague us.”