Aubrey Plaza and Christopher Abbott will find love in a Bronx bar with an upcoming Off-Broadway production of John Patrick Shanley’s “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea.”
The “White Lotus” Emmy nominee and “Poor Things” actor, respectively, will star in the revival of the 1984 play, set for the Lucille Lortel Theatre in the West Village this fall. “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea” will start previews on Monday, October 20 with an opening night set for Monday, November 13. Actor Jeff Ward will make his stage directing debut with the production, while Plaza will make her own stage acting debut as well.
Many know John Patrick Shanley for his Oscar-winning original screenplay for “Moonstruck,” but he also won the Pulitzer Prize and Tony for Best Play in 2005 for “Doubt,” which he adapted to the screen in 2008. “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea” first premiered Off-Broadway at Circle in the Square Theatre Downtown in 1984 with June Stein and John Turturro in the roles of Roberta and Danny.
The two-hander centers on two social lowlives who strike up conversation over a beer in a Bronx dive bar. While Roberta’s a single mother riddled with guilt over a divorce and the teenage son she can no longer take care of, Danny’s a self-loathing truck driver prone to violence. Roberta, meanwhile, is troubled by sexual trauma involving her father. But amid their misery, the two somehow forge a meaningful connection after deciding to spend the night together.
Abbott is acclaimed for his brooding roles in films like “Possessor” and “James White” and his eventually brooding turn in “Girls” (see Season 5 episode “The Panic in Central Park”) but he will next be seen in Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Poor Things,” a movie he says he’s in “for like two seconds.” Plaza, meanwhile, just had a viral success thanks to her grimly observant Harper in HBO’s “The White Lotus” and has a ton of projects coming up, including Francis Ford Coppola’s “Megalopolis.”
Among the producers on the play is Academy Award-winner actor Sam Rockwell, who said in a statement shared with press, “My life and career have been profoundly impacted by Off-Broadway theater — like John Malkovich and Gary Sinise in ‘True West’ at the Cherry Lane; Stanley Tucci in Scapin at Classic Stage Company; Phil Hoffman and Justin Theroux in ‘Shopping and F*cking’ at New York Theatre Workshop; and ‘Blasted’ with Reed Birney and Marin Ireland at Soho Rep, to name a few. I really do believe it’s the beating heart of this city. I couldn’t be prouder to be downtown at the Lucille Lortel with this vital play.”
The other credits include Oscar-nominated “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” costumer Arianne Phillips, scenic designer Scott Pask, lighting design by John Torres, sound design by Kate Marvin, and movement by Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber.
Rockwell will produce via his and Mark Berger’s Play Hooky Productions, along with Seaview, Sue Wagner, and John Johnson with the Lucille Lortel Theatre.