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Sheila Heti play to have U.S. premiere in New York next year

The Toronto production of All Our Happy Days Are Stupid.

Jordan Tannahill

Sheila Heti's play All Our Happy Days Are Stupid will have its American premiere in New York in the new year, The Globe and Mail has learned.

The original Toronto production of the quirky comedy, presented to sold-out houses in Kensington Market last fall, is set to tour to the Big Apple with its Canadian cast mostly intact.

The Kitchen, an avant-garde performance space located in the Manhattan neighbourhood of Chelsea, is teaming up with the publisher McSweeney's to present the Suburban Beast production directed by Jordan Tannahill with Erin Brubacher from Feb. 16 to 28. McSweeney's also has plans to publish Heti's script.

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Heti, who dropped out of the playwriting program at the National Theatre School, is best known as a fiction writer – and her recent hit "novel from life" How Should a Person Be? features a protagonist who struggles to finish a play.

That play-within-the-book bears a strong resemblance to All Our Happy Days Are Stupid, which features songs by Dan Bejar of the New Pornographers and tells the story of two North American families who go on vacation in an off-the-wall version of Paris.

After it languished unproduced for over a decade, director Tannahill resurrected Heti's script in a what I called a "stylized, shambolic production," that was "frequently delightful, full of laugh-out-loud moments of absurdity" in October. It starred actors Naomi Skwarna and Becky Johnson as two mothers who lose their children but find new ways to live on holiday – and featured a supporting cast that included indie rocker Henri Fabergé and cultural critic Carl Wilson. All but one member of the original cast will take part in the 2015 remount – which Suburban Beast hopes to present again in Toronto in a larger venue before moving to New York.

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Theatre critic

J. Kelly Nestruck is The Globe's theatre critic. More

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