Watch Mark Ruffalo, Jessica Hecht in IRONWEED at BAM

Mark Ruffalo Victoria Will

The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) presents IRONWEED: An Evening of Art & Humanity, starring four-time Academy Award nominee Mark Ruffalo and two-time Tony Award nominee Jessica Hecht on May 17.

This preview, based on William Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, will be an innovative mix of live performance and recorded sound, featuring scenes from the new play, IRONWEED, adapted by Kennedy and director Jodie Markell, according to a news release.

IRONWEED opens as All Hallow’s Eve descends upon the city of Albany in 1938. Ruffalo portrays Francis Phelan whose heartbreaking story unfolds as he returns to his hometown after living on the streets for many years. Audiences witness his deeply personal end-of-life reckoning, his journey through purgatory and his struggle for redemption.

Hecht takes on the role of Helen Archer who once was a classical pianist studying at Vassar, but is now Francis’ loyal friend and drinking companion, accompanying him as they roam familiar haunts.

Woven into the performance are never-before-heard excerpts from the soon-to-be-released audio recording of the play that Kennedy narrates. IRONWEED the audio recording is a cinematic experience in sound that upholds the brilliance of Kennedy’s language and the voices of these timeless characters that will be heard in a new way. It is produced by the AudioFilm division of Gilbert’s Autonomy Productions and will be released fall 2024.

The performance will be followed by a conversation with Ruffalo and Hecht moderated by author and The New Yorker writer, Vinson Cunningham. They will be joined by advocates and experts to discuss the crisis of the unhoused in today’s communities. During the Great Depression, two million homeless people were migrating around America. Today more than half a million Americans are unhoused, and that number is increasing every day.

IRONWEED: An Evening of Art & Humanity

The evening includes a post-show discussion with the cast moderated by Vinson Cunningham

  • BAM Strong, Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton St.
  • Friday, May 17 at 7:30 pm

Tickets start at $35. Tickets went on sale April 15 at 1 pm for BAM Members & Patrons. General public tickets go on sale on April 18 at 1 pm.


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