Birthday Candles

UPDATE: This production has been postponed until fall 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay tuned for more information.

Tickets for Birthday Candles at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway will be on sale soon.

Emmy Award-winning star of "Will & Grace," Debra Messing, returns to the Broadway stage to lead the New York premiere of Birthday Candles, written by Noah Haidle and directed by Vivienne Benesch, as part of Roundabout Theatre Company's 2019-2020 season.

Birthday Candles, originally commissioned by Detroit Public Theatre where it staged its world premiere in the spring of 2018, follows Ernestine Ashworth across a lifetime of Birthdays from her 17th to her 101st and poses the question: what makes a lifetime into a life?

The role of Ernestine is a true gift for any actor due to its sheer scope and sentiment. Fortunately, Roundabout Theatre Company has managed to entice a TV favorite back to the New York stage for this New York premiere. Of course, Debra Messing will forevermore be associated with the role of Grace Adler on NBC’s beloved sitcom “Will & Grace,” for which she took home an Emmy Award in 2003 and has received a total of seven Golden Globe nominations and four further Emmy nominations. Broadway fans also remember her fondly as lyricist Julia Houston on NBC’s musical series “Smash” and as Rosemary Muldoon in her Broadway debut performance in 2014 for Manhattan Theatre Club’s production of Outside Mullingar. However, Birthday Candles promises to be an unprecedented acting challenge for Ms. Messing in the world of live theater.

Stellar support comes from two television actors who both make their Broadway debuts with the production: "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" star Andre Braugher and "Veronica Mars" standout Enrico Colantoni.

Why not experience Birthday Candles on the Great White Way and join in the party?

(Photo courtesy of Polk & Co.)

About Birthday Candles:

Debra Messing returns to the stage as Ernestine Ashworth, who spends her 17th birthday agonizing over her insignificance in the universe. Soon enough, it’s her 18th birthday. Even sooner, her 41st. Her 70th. Her 101st. Five generations, dozens of goldfish, an infinity of dreams, one cake baked over a century. What makes a lifetime…into a life? Birthday Candles is a poignant new play as fearless in scope as it is tremendous in heart.

Debra Messing
Debra Messing
as Ernestine Ashworth

From 2 Sep 2021 to 21 Dec 2021

Noah Haidle
Roundabout Theatre Company
Vivienne Benesch
Jen Schriever
John Gromada
Christine Jones
Toni-Leslie James
Cast list:
Debra Messing (as Ernestine Ashworth), Andre Braugher (as Matt), and Enrico Colantoni (as Kenneth), alongside Crystal Finn (as Joan/Alex/Beth), Susannah Flood (as Alice/Madeline/Ernie), and Christopher Livingston (as Billy/John)
Other info:
Original Music by Kate Hopgood
Birthday Candles Performance Dates & Times
Expected Fall 2021

American Airlines Theatre - Roundabout Theatre Company

227 West 42nd Street (between 7th & 8th Avenue), New York, NY 10036
Nearest subway station:
Times Square - 42nd Street station

Latest Birthday Candles News & Features

Sharon D. Clarke in Caroline, or Change
Roundabout Theatre shifts Broadway lineup to 2021
June 26, 2020

Roundabout Theatre Company announced an update to its upcoming season on Broadway, with the second postponement of two productions and an additional production. The company has added the Broadway debut of Alice Childress's Trouble in Mind, directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, to the season's lineup. Known as a founding member of the American Negro Theatre, Childress was the first Black woman to be produced professionally in New York with her play Gold Through the Trees in 1952. Trouble in Mind will open at the American Airlines Theatre in winter 2021/22.