HOME is delighted to announce the Northern Premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning, acclaimed American playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Jesus Hopped The ‘A’ Train.
Directed by Jake Murray, who makes a welcome return to his hometown of Manchester with his very own Elysium Theatre Company, this production marks the play’s regional premiere and the first time Guirgis has been performed in Manchester.
Angel Cruz is standing trial for shooting the Reverend Kim in the ass; Reverend Kim later died. Lucius Jenkins is on appeal, trying to avoid the death penalty for the murder of eight people. For one hour each day, both men share adjacent cages on Rikers Island, New York’s top security prison. Then one day they get talking.
Jesus Hopped The ‘A’ Train premiered in New York at LAByrinth TC in 2000, in a production directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. It then transferred to the Donmar Warehouse in London in 2002 where it was nominated for an Olivier Award. Since, it has been revived in London only once at the Trafalgar Studios in 2010.
It is a funny, powerful, adrenaline-fuelled drama of good and evil, penalty and redemption, by one of America’s most exciting and admired new writers – Stephen Adly Guirgis. He is the recipient of a number of awards including a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in May 2016; the Pulitzer Prize, an Outer Critics Circle Award, a New York Drama Critics Circle Award and a Lucille Lortel Award (all for Between Riverside And Crazy in 2015).
Multi-award winning director Jake Murray is no stranger to Manchester, having spent seven years at the Royal Exchange Theatre, progressing from Michael Elliott Foundation Bursary Trainee Director to Associate Artistic Director before leaving to go freelance.
He was co-artistic director with Sarah Frankcom of the Exchange Studio, during which time the space was nominated for a Peter Brook Empty Space Award. Days Of Wine And Roses and Jesus Hopped The ‘A’ Train see his return to the city in which he grew up and worked.
His production of Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Exchange in 2005 starring the young Andrew Garfield, Gugu Mbatha-Raw & Andrew Buchan broke records for first time viewers and young audiences.
His production of Tom Murphy’s A Whistle In The Dark in 2006 transferred from the Exchange to the Tricycle Theatre in London, swept the board with rave reviews from the critics and was the Evening Standard’s and Time Out Critics Choice for several weeks. He has worked all over the UK as a freelance director, and set up Elysium Theatre Company in 2016.
Elysium is dedicated to bringing the best new plays and world theatre to the North. Founded by Jake, northern actor Danny Solomon and actress/ producer Hannah Ellis Ryan, the company is currently Company In Residence at the Assembly Rooms, Durham. Their debut production of Owen McCafferty’s Days Of Wine And Roses, played at the Assembly Rooms in Durham and 53two Manchester last year to great critical acclaim – earning its lead actor, Danny Solomon, a nomination for Best Fringe Performance at this year’s Manchester Theatre Awards. Danny returns with Elysium to Manchester this year, performing the role of Angel Cruz in Jesus Hopped The ‘A’ Train.
Danny is joined in the cast by Alice Frankham as Mary Jane Hanrahan, Faz Singhateh as Lucius Jenkins, Garth Williams as Charlie D’Amico and Alistair Gillies as Valdez.
Walter Meierjohann, Artistic Director: Theatre, HOME, said: “We are very pleased to present another Northern premiere of a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, continuing HOME’s relationship with the best of contemporary American drama. I look forward to seeing Stephen Adly Guirgis high energy, bold, political and darkly comic play in our T2 space, and I am delighted to welcome Jake Murray and the Elysium theatre company to HOME.”