International City Theatre is thrilled to return to the stage after 18 long months with a compelling family drama by multiple award-winning Los Angeles-based playwright Wendy Graf. Directed by Saundra McClain, Graf’s Closely Related Keys opens Aug. 27 at ICT’s home in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. Two low-priced previews are set for Aug. 25 and Aug. 26.
Living in New York shortly after September 11, Julia Dolan is an up-and-coming corporate attorney whose carefully constructed life begins to crumble when she learns she has a half-sister — a Muslim who has fled Iraq. Neyla plays the violin and wants to audition for Julliard, but Julia is wary. Is there more to Neyla’s story?
Closely Related Keys reminds us, on the 20th anniversary of that pivotal event, how living in a climate of racial, religious, moral and political polarization can cause us to put up walls on a personal level.
“The sisters are both broken, each in her own way, and they come from opposite, seemingly irreconcilable worlds,” says ICT artistic director caryn desai. “As they search for a way forward based on the little they have in common, maybe there’s a lesson for the rest of us during these partisan times.”
The play’s title is taken from a musical expression meaning “to share many common tones.”
Closely Related Keys premiered at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood in 2014, garnering two NAACP Theater Award nominations and one win. The Hollywood Reporter praised ”important issues of identity, guilt, tolerance in both a political and psychological context... told with intelligence and sensitivity,” while influencer site Gia On The Move found the play “human… touching, painful, powerful.” Mixed Roots Stories wrote, “a balanced and provoking representation of cultures, races and intimate relationships colliding and evolving. Graf is not afraid to tackle race, privilege and stereotypes head-on.”
Graf has updated and revised the script for the ICT production.
Closely Related Keys runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., Aug. 27 through Sept. 12. Two preview performances take place on Wednesday, Aug. 25 and Thursday, Aug. 26, both at 8 p.m. Tickets are $49 on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, except Aug. 27 (opening night) for which tickets are $55 and include a post show reception; and $52 on Sundays. Low-priced tickets to previews are $37.
Seating will be socially distanced (skipping rows as well as seats) and masks required as recommended by the County of Los Angeles on the date of each performance.