Beyond Therapy

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This article is about the stage play. For Robert Altman's film adaptation, see Beyond Therapy (film).
Beyond Therapy
Written by Christopher Durang
Date premiered January 1, 1981 (1981-01-01)
Place premiered Phoenix Theatre
New York City
Original language English

Beyond Therapy is a play by Christopher Durang.

The farcical comedy focuses on Prudence and Bruce, two Manhattanites who are seeking stable romantic relationships with the help of their psychiatrists, each of whom suggests the patient place a personal ad. Bruce is a highly emotional bisexual who tends to cry easily, a trait homophobic Prudence sees as a weakness. Their first meeting proves to be disastrous and the two report back to their respective therapists - libidinous Stuart, who once seduced Prudence, and eccentric Charlotte, who stumbles over the simplest of words, references the play Equus as a good source of advice, and interacts with Bruce and all her patients with the help of a stuffed Snoopy. Clearly the two are more troubled than their patients. Charlotte suggests a revised ad, which once again attracts Prudence, but this time she and Bruce manage to get past their initial loathing and discover they actually like each other. Complications ensue when Bruce's jealous live-in lover Bob decides to assert himself and do everything possible to maintain his status quo.

An off-Broadway production directed by Jerry Zaks opened on January 1, 1981 at the Phoenix Theatre in New york, where it ran for 30 performances. The cast included Sigourney Weaver as Prudence, Stephen Collins as Bruce, Jim Borrelli as Stuart, Kate McGregor-Stewart as Charlotte, and Jack Gilpin as Bob.

After eleven previews, the Broadway production, directed by John Madden, opened on May 26, 1982 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, where it ran for 21 performances. The cast included Dianne Wiest as Prudence, John Lithgow as Bruce, and Peter Michael Goetz as Stuart, with Mc-Gregor-Stewart and Gilpin reprising their off-Broadway roles. David Hyde Pierce made his Broadway debut in the small role of a waiter.

McGregor-Stewart was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play.

In 1987, Durang adapted his play for a screenplay that was rewritten substantially by director Robert Altman. Although the two shared a screenwriting credit, Durang described the project as "a very unhappy experience and outcome." [1]

Beyond Therapy remains one of Durang's most frequently produced plays around the country, and is popular in colleges, regional, and community theatres. A recording of the play, featuring Catherine O'Hara as Prudence and David Hyde Pierce as Bruce, has been released on CD by the Fynsworth Alley label [2].

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