This spring, The Minutes will return to the stage and take over the iconic Studio 54! Watch out for this record-breaking hit that originated from the award-winning Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. The Minutes, written by award-winning playwright Tracy Letts, is a comedic play in which the story revolves around the inner workings of a council meeting of Big Cherry. The small town of Big Cherry is filled with council members who play a political game amongst each other. With a stellar cast and a Tony-Award-winning director, The Minutes is an electrically charged and hilarious play that proves everything can change in a matter of minutes! Get your tickets now to see this incredible play opening at Broadway this March 2022!
The Minutes is a satire that delves into the inner-workings of politics in a small town. The city council meeting was expected to be a routine and straightforward discussion. However, things get heated, and the council members begin arguing. This comedic play will have the characters debate on something as mundane as lost bicycles and parking spots. Some truths are revealed for what seems to be petty bickering among members, such as how ugly and raw American politics can be. The period of the play is set during the Trump era. According to Steven Oxman, a reviewer from Variety, “Letts manages to make this play all about Trumpism without being the slightest bit about Trump. The President goes unmentioned.”
The characters epitomize a hilarious representation of small-time politicians in the humble town of Big Cherry. For example, Mr. Oldfied is the longest-serving and often unorganized council member. Mr. Blake is an African-American who’s reeks of alcohol on his breath and wants to turn the peaceful town into a venue for a cage fight match. The politically-incorrect Mr. Breeding is a loud character who simply does not understand the common folk, especially on things such as access to the city’s fountain for the disabled. The play gives viewers access to the minds and discussions of the council members via a newbie, Mr. Peel. New-to-town and recently-elected Mr. Peel is an idealistic, uncorrupted council member who had a calling to public service after his daughter was born. Mr. Peel was looking for the minutes (voice recordings of an official discussion) to keep up with the previous meeting. Suspiciously, the minutes are nowhere to be found. Mr. Peel utilizes his experience with bureaucracy to discover what occurred in the week before – he may or may not uncover something big that is not meant to be found, such as why a council member Mr. Carp, abruptly lost his seat.
“A comedy filled with back-stabbing, deception, and trickery.” – Variety
“Provocative and perennial” – Daily Herald
The Minutes was written by award-winning playwright Tracy Letts. Letts, who’s also an actor and a screenwriter, won the Tony Award for Best Play and Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the production August: Osage County. In 2013, he won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his role of George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Some of his appearances on film and TV include Homeland, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Little Women and Deep Water. Meanwhile, director Anna Davida Sharipo who worked with Letts for the production of August: Osage County, also directed the original Chicago production of The Minutes. In 2008, she won a Tony Award for Director of a Play for August: Osage County. She also won an Outer Circle Critics Award and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Play.
The Minute was initially shown in Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago, in 2017. In 2020, the play had a few previews in New York, and it was supposed to open in March. Due to the COVID19 pandemic, production was delayed. This 2022, the hilarious play is back, and it opens in March at Studio 54, with a partially new cast. The play, directed by Pulitzer Prize nominee Anna D. Shapiro, featured a cast composed of Ian Barford, Penny Slusher, James Vincent Meredith, Kevin Anderson, Wiliam Petersen, Cliff Chamberlain, Brittany Burch Danny McCarthy, Francis Guinan, Jeff Still, and Sally Murphy. Creative production included David Zinn as scenic designer. Ann Roth was in charge of costumes, Brian McDevitt as lighting designer, André Plues for sound design and original music, and Tom Watson for wig and hair. The original production held its last play on December 31, 2017. The producers had plans to transfer the play to New York City.
For the 2022 spring play, the role of Ms. Innes was recast and now assumed by Blair Brown. Meanwhile, actor Armie Hammer who used to play Mr. Breeding is now replaced with Cliff Chamberlain. Mr. Blake is now played by K. Todd Freeman, while playwright Letts will be assuming the role of Mayor Superba. The parts of Ms. Johnson and Mr. Oldfield were also recast and now played by Jessie Mueller and Austin Pendleton, respectively.
“…With his astonishing new play, The Minutes, a pitch-black comedy about the current state of American politics and the fake news elements in our national history, Tracy Letts has written the 21st century equivalent of The Rite of Spring.” – Chicago Sun Times
The Minutes received excellent reviews from critics. Barbara Vitello from the Daily Herald mentioned that the play is funny and silly. But she acknowledged that the play poses a bigger question. “What you are willing to do, what are you willing to ignore, what are you willing to forget to preserve your cocoon of comfort?” Meanwhile, Chris Jones from the Chicago Tribune highly recommends the play to viewers. “The Minutes staged on a setting from Dadeftly captures the tension of patriotic grandiosity and provincial defensiveness found in city halls across the land, will not be a play you forget quickly. It is a typically robust response to the moment from Letts, offering not just a repudiation but an opportunity.”
The Minutes takes place at Studio 54, a culturally iconic venue that had different names until 1942 when it was acquired by CBS and was operated as a television and radio studio. By the late ‘70s, entrepreneurs Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell opened a nightclub in the building and used many TV and theatrical sets. At the peak of the disco era, Studio 54 was launched. The nightclub became world-famous and was visited by many celebrities. In 1998, Studio 54 became a venue used by the Roundabout Theatre Company. It hosted several productions including Cabaret, The People in the Picture, Harvey, Brief Encounter, A Touch of a Poet, Children of a Lesser God, and many more. This 2022, Studio 54 becomes the home of The Minutes. The 1,006-capacity venue has been featured in films, music albums, and television. In 1998, a movie entitled 54 was released. Starring Ryan Philippe, Salma Hayek, and Neve Campbell, the drama film takes place at Studio 54.
Be one of the first ones in New York to get tickets and see this critically acclaimed play at Studio 54! Get a glimpse of the nitty-gritty of American politics and how particular stories can be told through shameless lies and distortions.