Chi’s ‘Thing’ to hit Gotham

Harvey play riding wave of critical acclaim

CHICAGO — Producer Roy Gabay has signed a deal with Chi’s Famous Door Theater Co. to transfer the Windy City production of Jonathan Harvey’s “Beautiful Thing” to New York.

Currently slated for an October opening at a theater to be announced (original plans for the Cherry Lane fell through late Friday), the show will mark English playwright Harvey’s Gotham debut.

Gabay and Famous Door said Friday that Gary Griffin’s entire Chicago production with the complete original cast will be dismantled after its slated Sept. 20 close at Chicago’s Theater Building and moved to New York. The gay-themed drama about two young boys coming of age in London was a critical smash in Chicago, even though Famous Door is an itinerant and financially strapped company with an annual budget of less than $250,000.

Despite London success at the Bush Theater, the Donmar Warehouse and the Duke of York’s in the West End, there has never been a New York production of “Beautiful Thing” because the producers of the movie version of the comedy insisted on a two-year hold-back of any live performance rights as a condition of the film deal. That window has now expired.

Gabay, who has been trying for years to produce the show in New York, came to Chicago last month and was impressed with the artistic quality of what he saw. “It reminded me how much I always wanted to do this show,” Gabay said. “It’s a beautiful play.”

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