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5 STARS (out of 6)



April 23, 2008

In the first 20 minutes of From Up Here, Liz Flahive’s exceptionally skilled and affecting family drama about second chances, three women appear in bras. First, sassy highschooler Lauren (Aya Cash) storms in half-dressed, complaining that her nice-guy stepfather, Daniel (Brian Hutchison), didn’t do the laundry. Next, mother Grace (Julie White) enters topless, throwing on her clothes for work. Shortly after, Grace’s world-traveling sister, Caroline (Arija Bareikis), changes her sweaty T-shirt in front of a flustered Daniel. I’m not sure what all this female sartorial nonchalance is meant to portend, but it might create sexual tension for the teen boy of the family, Kenny (Tobias Segal). The kid is dangerously buttoned-up.  

Kenny is the cringing, ever-mortified center of the story, and he spends much of the time looking unbearably ill-at-ease, trying to placate his family and teachers, all of whom treat him as if he were a ticking bomb. To be fair, Kenny recently did something at school to earn this wariness (no spoilers here). Showing a surgeonlike precision for character giveaways and mood shifts, Flahive dramatizes the tortures of domestic life, showing how the urge to escape can lead to violence and curdled rage. Her script is full of quick-witted jokes (especially in the mischievous persona of Will Rogers, who plays Lauren’s dorky suitor), but the final scenes are near-harrowing, as the half-capable, half-crazed mother and her humiliated son acknowledge their mutual state of damage. Under Leigh Silverman’s spotless direction, a perfect cast does this smart, moving script justice by baring all.



This production is presented in association with Ars Nova (Jason Eagan, Artistic Director; Jon Steingart and Jenny Wiener, Executive Producers).


The cast features Jenni Barber (25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) as ‘Kate’, Arija Bareikis (The Last Night of Ballyhoo) as ‘Caroline,’ Aya Cash (The Pain and the Itch) as ‘Lauren,’ Brian Hutchison (Proof) as ‘Daniel,’ Will Rogers (100 Saints You Should Know) as ‘Charlie,’ Tobias Segal (Doris to Darlene) as ‘Kenny,’ Joel Van Liew (Well) as ‘Mr. Goldberger/Stevens,’ and Tony Awardâ winner Julie White (The Little Dog Laughed) as ‘Grace.’


In FROM UP HERE, Kenny (Segal) did something that has his mother (White) and everyone around him worried. He wishes he could just make it through the rest of his senior year unnoticed, but that’s going to be hard since he has to publicly apologize to his entire high school. At home, his family is struggling with second marriages, surprise visits, school dances and forgotten dry cleaning.


The creative team includes Allen Moyer (scenic design), Mattie Ullrich (costume design), Pat Collins (lighting design), Jill BC DuBoff (sound design), Tom Kitt (original music), and David Caparelliotis (casting).


Special thanks to the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for supporting new American plays and musicals at Manhattan Theatre Club.


Under the leadership of Artistic Director Lynne Meadow and Executive Producer Barry Grove, MTC has become one of the country’s most prominent and prestigious theatre companies. MTC productions have earned numerous awards, including 16 Tony Awards and five Pulitzer Prizes, an accomplishment unparalleled by a New York theatrical institution. Renowned MTC productions include LoveMusik; Blackbird; Translations; Shining City; Rabbit Hole; Doubt; Proof; The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife; Kimberly Akimbo; Love! Valour! Compassion!; Sylvia; Four Dogs and a Bone; Putting  It Together; Lips Together, Teeth Apart; Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune; Crimes of the Heart; and Ain’t Misbehavin’


In 2003, MTC reopened Broadway’s landmark, long-neglected Biltmore Theatre, following a two-year, $35 million capital campaign. In addition to the Biltmore, MTC operates two theatres at New York City Center, its Off-Broadway home since 1984.


During Meadow’s sabbatical this season, Daniel Sullivan, a close associate of MTC and director of several Manhattan Theatre Club productions (Rabbit Hole, Brooklyn Boy, Sight Unseen, Proof, Psychopathia Sexualis), is serving as Acting Artistic Director. Sullivan will continue consulting with Meadow and MTC’s artistic staff on the 2007-2008 season. Meadow will return to MTC for the 2008-2009 season and will consult on the planning of that season.


As New York’s premier hub for emerging artists and new work, Ars Nova  develops and produces eclectic theatre, comedy and music to feed today’s popular culture. Ars Nova strives to create daring collaborations, meld disciplines and give voice to a new generation of artists. Past productions include Dixie’s Tupperware PartyAt Least It’s Pink25 Questions for a Jewish Mother, Holy Cross Sucks and The Wau Wau Sisters. Ars Nova was founded in memory of Gabe Wiener. For more information, visit www.arsnovanyc.com


For information on how to subscribe to Manhattan Theatre Club, please visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.



Single tickets for all Manhattan Theatre Club productions at New York City Center are available by calling CityTix at (212) 581-1212. Tickets are $75.00. Group and student rates are available. For group ticket information, call (212) 399-3000 x 4132. Student tickets are $25 and are on sale for all performances based on availability on the day of the performance, up to one hour before showtime. Call (212) 581-1212 for further information. MTC at New York City Center is accessible to people with disabilities and is equipped with a hearing augmentation system. 



  • Tuesday, April 22 – Sunday, June 8: Tuesday – Saturday at 8:00pm; Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday at 2:00pm.


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