Penned by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson, Burn This made its theatrical debut in 1987. Set in a Manhattan loft in the late 1980s following a tragic death, Burn This centers around the story of mutual friends of the victim who are brought together after his funeral. Tensions simmer, emotions bubble over, and two strangers find themselves entangled in a rather volatile attraction. A hot-blooded tale of love and raw desire, Burn This takes a deep dive into the complicated emotions of grief, attraction, coincidence and lust.
We enter the drama swirling around inside an expansive, industrial loft in downtown 1980s Manhattan. Anna and Larry are lamenting the death of their roommate Robbie after having returned from his funeral – Robbie drowned alongside his boyfriend Dom after a tragic boating accident while they were returning from a trip to Fire Island. Anna, Robbie’s delicate dance partner, has taken his death rather harshly and is juggling with the many facets of grief, dealing with denial, shock, anger and despair simultaneously. Anna’s longtime boyfriend Burton soon arrives, and as he and Larry do their best to comfort her, an unexpected visitor abruptly arrives at the apartment – it’s Robbie’s brother Jimmy, better known as Pale. Pale disapproved of his late brother’s lifestyle, launching into drug-fueled, curse-laden, homophobic rants upon encountering Robbie’s trio of friends while trying to gather up his brother’s belongings. While Pale’s unannounced arrival and brusque, hyperactive manner initially shock the trio of mourners, Anna eventually can’t help but find his idiosyncrasies particularly seductive.
Anna, Larry, Burton and Pale are essentially brought together by their quest to try and make sense of life’s unpredictable ups and downs, all while reexamining their own relationships and doing some introspective exploration along the way.
Burn This is artfully directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer. Its all-star cast is anchored by three-time Emmy winner Adam Driver of HBO’s “Girls” fame portraying Pale, and Golden Globe laureate and Emmy Award nominee Keri Russell alongside him as Anna. Tony nominees David Furr and Brandon Uranowitz co-star as Burton and Larry, respectively. Adam Driver’s powerful portrayal of Pale as a deranged, tortured soul concurrently captivates and terrifies audiences – without a doubt, it’s one of Driver’s career-defining performances to date.
Where To Watch
Burn This first premiered off-Broadway in 1987 at the Circle Repertory Company, later transferring over to Broadway’s Plymouth Theatre where it ran through 1988. The 2019 revival began previews on March 15 and officially opened a month later at Broadway’s Hudson Theatre. Fans can catch performances of Burn This through July 14th – time’s a-ticking, so reserve the best seats now before it’s too late!
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