Next Fall

Naked Angels unveils the best new play of the season so far.

  • BREAKFAST NOOKIE Lovebirds Heusinger, left, and Breen share a romantic meal;...

BREAKFAST NOOKIE Lovebirds Heusinger, left, and Breen share a romantic meal;...

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>5/5

The summer is not usually a great time to catch a play: After a frantic rush to the season’s finish line in early May, Broadway and Off Broadway tend to collapse into prolonged estivation. Happily, there are exceptions to this doziness. You needn’t wait until the coming autumn, for example, to catch Next Fall, Geoffrey Nauffts’s funny, romantic, truthful and heartbreaking new drama. You really needn’t wait at all, in fact: This beautifully shaped piece, produced by Naked Angels, should ideally be seen right away.

Next Fall begins in the waiting room of the hospital where Luke (Heusinger) has been taken after a life-threatening head injury, and unfolds largely in flashbacks to scenes from the previous five years of his relationship with the somewhat older Adam (Breen). The hunky, Southern-born Luke is a devout Christian, which fills him with guilt about being gay—he sometimes prays after sex—but also gives him a sense of confidence and security that the neurotic Adam, a hypochondriacal atheist, decidedly lacks. I don’t remember the last time I saw a gay relationship portrayed with such nuance onstage—a credit to Nauffts’s astute writing, but also to Sheryl Kaller’s sensitive direction of a top-notch cast of six. (Connie Ray and Cotter Smith play Luke’s parents; Maddie Corman and Sean Dugan are friends of the couple.) By the second act, the Peter Jay Sharp Theater is a chamber of sniffles, but this is no mere tearjerker. It’s a tear-earner: Next Fall merits every drop.—Adam Feldman

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Peter Jay Sharp Theater. By Geoffrey Nauffts. Dir. Sheryl Kaller. With Patrick Breen, Patrick Heusinger. 2hrs 10mins. One intermission.