The Public Theater’s 'Coal Country' to play limited Off-Broadway engagement
Audible Theater will produce the play at Cherry Lane Theatre in March.
UPDATE: Additional Coal Country casting has been announced. Kym Gomes and Carl Palmer round out the cast as Judge and Goose, respectively.
After closing prematurely at The Public Theater in 2020, the acclaimed musical Coal Country will be revived at the Cherry Lane Theatre this spring. The show is set for a six-week engagement from March 4 to April 17. Opening night is March 10, two years to the day after the original production was shut down due to the pandemic.
The musical, written by documentary filmmakers Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen and featuring original music by Steve Earle, is based on the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, an explosion in a West Virginia mine in 2010 that killed 29 miners. Coal Country highlights the resilience of the people affected in the aftermath as they fight for restitution from the energy company that was responsible. The story is taken from interviews with family members of the deceased miners as well as the few that survived the blast.
The five-star New York Theatre Guide review of the 2020 Coal Country production reads, "The tale is at times as elemental as fire and air, and as all-consuming as the explosion itself. The design team adds to the mood, filling the theater with a light mist, a reminder of the coal dust the workers breathed in on a daily basis."
Much of the Public production's cast will return for the Cherry Lane engagement, including Mary Bacon as Patti, Amelia Campbell as Mindi, Ezra Knight as Roosevelt, Thomas Kopache as Gary, Michael Laurence as Tommy, and Deirdre Madigan as Judy, with two additional actors to be announced. Earle will perform his original score onstage. The full creative team from 2020 is also returning, including set designer Richard Hoover, costume designer Jessica Jahn, lighting designer David Lander, sound designer Darron L West, and movement director Adesola Osakalumi. Blank will direct.
Coal Country is being produced by Audible Theater, which is currently mounting a revival of Long Day's Journey into Night at the Minetta Lane Theatre. Audible released Coal Country as an audio drama in September 2021.
Photo credit: Diana Davis