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Elton John and David Furnish Present "Next Fall" at The Helen Hayes Theatre
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Elton John and David Furnish Present "Next Fall" at The Helen Hayes Theatre

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Elton John and David Furnish,
et al.
in association with Naked Angels
Next Fall
(Next Fall Website)

By Geoffrey Nauffts
Directed by Sheryl Kaller

The Helen Hayes Theatre
240 West 44th Street

Patrick Breen, Maddie Corman, Sean Dugan
Patrick Heusinger, Connie Ray, Cotter Smith

Scenic Design: Wilson Chin
Costume Design: Jess Goldstein
Lighting Design: Jeff Croiter
Original Music and Sound Design: John Gromada
Press Representative: Boneau/Bryan-Brown
Marketing, Promotional, & Digital Services: Allied Live, LLC
Casting: Howie Cherpakov, CSA
General Management: Theatre Production Group
Production Stage Manager: Charles Means
Production Management: Aurora Productions
Executive Producer: Susan Mindell
General Management:
Stuart Thompson Productions/David Turner

Dr.Roberta E. Zlokower
May 13, 2010

Seeing Geoffrey Nauuffts' new play at the Helen Hayes Theatre sparked a recollection of a friend's family dynamic, when he told me his relatives were told he was dying of the flu, rather than AIDS, which soon killed him. Luke (Patrick Heusinger), a young practicing Christian from a Southern family, parents now divorced, is seen in flashback scenes, as he cautiously meets the older lover, Adam (Patrick Breen), while getting some air at the edge of a cocktail party. Luke is seen in his start-up New York apartment, as his father, Butch (Cotter Smith), comes to town and is deceived about Adam's role in Luke's space. Butch is a blustery chauvinist, and wit and repartee fly like gumdrops on what could be a very sour day. Luke's mother, Arlene (Connie Ray), is seen only in the present, and that scene is a New York Hospital Waiting Room, in this bittersweet story.

Brandon (Sean Dugan), who was jilted by Luke, thanks to Adam and the fateful cocktails, and Holly (Maddie Corman), Adam's confidante and shop supervisor, who keeps the humor edgy and dry, complete the cast. This two-act play has two central settings, the hospital in the present and Adam and Luke's plush pad in the flashbacks. Toward the end of the play the audience is let in on the actual chain of events that resolve the sequential scenes. The role of religion is showcased in lengthy debates on Luke and Adam's couch, as well as the role of relationships and the requisite level of trust. During the entire production, the audience was enthralled and entertained. People leaned forward, absorbing the dialogue. Connie Ray, as Arlene, the overwrought, unstrung, alienated mother and divorcee, was charged and comical, and I'll look for her name on new Playbills. Cotter Smith, as her self-deluding, macho husband, Butch, was persuasively self-possessed.

But, it was Patrick Breen and Patrick Heusinger, as Adam and Luke, who provided the most compelling moments in tonight's superb production. Their nuanced gestures of jealousy, rage, ebullience, desire, and resignation were remarkably real. You could almost feel the audience embracing this duo with attentive warmth. Sean Dugan, as the quiet, red-haired Brandon, was an enigma in Act One and almost equally unexpressive in Act Two, even when he told his story. Maddie Corman, as Holly, lightened the hospital scenes with clever comments and cerebral connections. Wilson Chin's multi-purpose set is brilliantly designed and continually unfolds with mesmerizing effect. Jess Goldstein's costumes were authentic to the shifting scenes, especially Arlene's colorful attire. John Gromada's sound and music infused extra poignancy into this very poignant work. Sheryl Kaller directed for maximum success. Kudos to Geoffrey Nauffts.

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at