Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin to star on Steppenwolf stage

NEW YORK - Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin are slated to star together on Broadway in Kenneth Lonergan's play "This is Our Youth," a comedy about the high times and aimless lives of two disaffected young men. But not before stopping in Chicago first.

Lonergan said Tuesday that Cera, whose credits include "Arrested Development," "Juno" and "Superbad," and Culkin, of "Igby Goes Down" and "Cider House Rules," will bring the play to Broadway in the fall after a stop this summer at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company. All three will be making their Broadway debuts.

The woman in the middle of the pair will be played by Tavi Gevinson, who founded a web magazine for teenage girls and acted in the film "Enough Said." The production will be directed by Anna D. Shapiro and will have original music by Rostam Batmanglij of the band Vampire Weekend.

"This is very exciting," the playwright said by phone. "I've had many chances to do the play over the years in New York, and one reason I avoided it was because it's very hard to cast. I'm very excited about this particular group of people."

The play will be in Chicago from June 10 to July 27 and begin previews Aug. 18 on Broadway, with an opening night at the Corte Theatre set for Sept. 11. The play will be produced on Broadway by Scott Rudin.

Set in 1982 at the beginning of the Reagan Era, the entire play takes place over two days at the Upper West Side apartment of Dennis, a narcissistic kid with wealthy parents. He gets an unexpected visit from his weird friend Warren, who fled home after having a disagreement with his dad and taking $15,000.

They come up with a dangerous plan to return the money and avoid punishment: First use it to buy cocaine and then resell the coke at a profit so they can also party and attract the attention of Warren's affections: 19-year-old Jessica Goldman.

The play debuted off-Broadway in 1996 and has over the years featured such high-profile actors as Mark Ruffalo, Josh Hamilton, Matt Damon, Colin Hanks, Chris Klein, Jake Gyllenhaal and Anna Paquin.

It was Lonergan's first hit, and it changed his career. "It was a big turning point in my life," he said, laughing. "This one gets done a lot because it's got three big good parts for very young people, so acting students tend to gravitate toward it. I think casting directors are sick of it."

Lonergan has written several other plays, most notably "Lobby Hero" and "The Waverly Gallery." He made his film debut with "You Can Count on Me" and had a follow-up with "Margaret," which also featured Culkin. He also contributed to the screenplays of "Gangs of New York" and "Analyze That."

Kieran Culkin will star with Michael Cera in Kenneth Lonergan's play "This is Our Youth," which will play Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre this summer before moving to Broadway in the fall. Associated Press File Photo
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