New avenue opening for Guirgis

Scribe exercises acting chops in 'Palindromes'

NEW YORK — Stephen Adly Guirgis loses one and gains another this week.

His play “Our Lady of 121st Street” closed Sunday after a five-month run at the Union Square Theater. Today, the scribe switches to his thesp hat to begin work on Todd Solondz’s new film, “Palindromes.” Guirgis had been cast in a smaller role in the independent pic but got moved up to one of the lead parts opposite Ellen Barkin when Chris Penn recently dropped out of the project.

In the vein of Solondz’s 1998 film “Happiness,” “Palindromes” is an ensemble movie that centers on the family of a 13-year-old girl.

Lengthy profiles of Guirgis in the New Yorker and the Sunday New York Times Magazine preceded the March 6 opening of “Our Lady of 121st Street,” one of the best reviewed plays of the past legit season. Although those notices did not propel the commercial production to a profitable run, its 16-week engagement at the Union Square represents one of the longest in recent memory for a new play presented in an Off Broadway theater.

Previously, Guirgis acted in his plays “Jesus Hopped the A Train” and “In Arabia We’d All Be Kings” in their London and New York productions.

He is a founding member of the LAByrinth Theater Co., which has produced his plays in Gotham.

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