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Burn This is a play by Lanford Wilson. Like many of Wilson's plays, it deals with themes of gay identity and relationships.
It begins shortly after the funeral of Robbie, a young gay dancer who drowned in a boating accident with his lover Dom. In attendance were Robbie's roommates: his sensitive dance partner and choreographer, Anna, and confident gay ad man Larry. Soon joining them in Robbie's lower-Manhattan loft are screenwriter Burton (Anna's longtime lover), and Pale (Robbie's coke-snorting, hyperactive restaurant manager brother). In the face of their shared tragedy, the quartet attempts to make sense of their lives and reconsider their own identities and relationships. Anna learns to be independent and self-confident; she pursues her interest in choreography and begins a relationship with Pale, breaking off her dispassionate relationship with her longtime boyfriend.
Commissioned by the Circle Repertory Company, the off-Broadway production, directed by Marshall W. Mason, opened on February 19, 1987 at Theatre 890. The cast included Jonathan Hogan, Joan Allen, John Malkovich, and Lou Liberatore.
After seven previews, the Broadway production, with the same cast again directed by Mason, opened on October 14, 1987 at the Plymouth Theatre, where it ran for 437 performances. The cast was replaced by Lisa Emery, Scott Glenn, Lonny Price, and Eric Roberts for the last two weeks of the run.
Allen won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play, and Liberatore was nominated for Best Featured Actor in a Play. Drama Desk Award nominations went to Liberatore and Malkovich, and Roberts won the Theatre World Award.
The Signature Theatre Company revival, directed by James Houghton, opened on September 19, 2002 at the Union Square Theatre, where it ran for slightly more than three months. The cast included Edward Norton, Catherine Keener, Ty Burrell, and Dallas Roberts. Norton's performance won him an Obie Award and garnered both him and the production Lucille Lortel Award nominations. Later in the run, Peter Sarsgaard replaced Edward Norton, and Elisabeth Shue took over for Catherine Keener.
- Jacobi, Martin J. "'The Monster Within' in Lanford Wilson's Burn This", Lanford Wilson: A Casebook, Jackson R. Bryer (ed.), Garland Publishing, Inc.: New York, 1994, pp. 131–49.