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The Road to Mecca

Audiences = 4.0

Running since December 2011
Roundabout Theatre presents Athol Fugard's play about an eccentric South African widow (Tony-winner Rosemary Harris) who causes a stir in her conservative Christian community by creating a garden of cement sculptures that face east towards Mecca.
Closes March 4th.

The Broadway production of The Road to Mecca closed March 4, 2012. For current Broadway show listings and tickets, please click here.

According to the theatre, the play is set in the Karoo region of South Africa, and "tells the story of Miss Helen (Rosemary Harris), a reclusive elderly woman who has spent the years since her husband's death transforming her home into an intricate and dazzling work of art, the village pastor (Jim Dale) who is determined to get her into an old-age home, and a young teacher from Cape Town (Carla Gugino) who is just as determined that Miss Helen remain free."

A Tony Award winner in 1966 for "The Lion in Winter" but most widely recognized as Toby Maguire's Aunt May in the Spiderman films, Rosemary Harris remains in top form at the age of 84. She was last seen on Broadway in "The Royal Family" in 2009, when she was nominated for a Tony Award for her graceful, nuanced performance as the matriarch of a family of actors. Jim Dale, who won a Tony in 1980 for the musical "Barnum," is a London and Broadway veteran of many decades, but his most lasting legacy may be his narrations of the Harry Potter audiobook series. Carla Gugino is making her the third Broadway appearance in "The Road to Mecca." Her most recent show was the steamy production of Eugene O'Neill's "Desire Under The Elms" in 2009.

Here's a promotional video in which Rosemary Harris and members of the production team discuss the play:

South African playwright Athol Fugard (who is also represented Off-Broadway this season, with Signature's revival of "Blood Knot") won London's Evening Standard and NYC's Drama Desk awards in 1983 for "Master Harold...and the Boys," and was awarded a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2011. "The Road to Mecca" had a successful Off Broadway run in the late '80s, and won the Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Foreign Play in 1988. This will be its Broadway premiere.

What's the Roundabout? One of the great nonprofit dreadnoughts of the New York theater scene, the Roundabout has three Broadway venues and an Off-Broadway stage in midtown. Prominent artists are usually engaged, significant work is usually done, and even at the smallest of the theaters, the work has the uniform quality that one would expect from such a large and prominent shop. More here.


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