Scribe to write, direct sequel to 'Pretty'

Neil LaBute will return to Off Broadway’s MCC Theater to write and direct “Reasons to Be Happy,” billed as a companion piece to “Reasons to Be Pretty,” LaBute’s four-character drama that MCC produced in 2008 prior to a 2009 Broadway transfer.

The play replaces John Pollono’s “Small Engine Repair,” the previously announced title that’s dropping out of the season due to filming conflicts for a cast that was to have included Jon Bernthal, the “Walking Dead” alum with a part in upcoming Martin Scorsese pic “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

“Reasons to Be Happy” centers on the four characters from “Pretty,” except with rejiggered romantic entanglements that provide obstacles to the reunion of the two characters who broke up in the earlier play. No casting has yet been announced for the world preem of “Happy,” although the Broadway cast of “Pretty” included Thomas Sadoski (“The Newsroom”), Marin Ireland, Piper Perabo and Steven Pasquale, star of upcoming NBC skein “Do No Harm.”

LaBute has been the playwright-in-residence at MCC for several years, during which the theater has produced LaBute titles including “Fat Pig,” “The Break of Noon” and “Some Girl(s).”

“Reasons to Be Happy” begins previews May 16 ahead of a June 2 opening at the Lucille Lortel Theater in downtown Manhattan.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more