ArtsBeat

Idaho’s Samuel D. Hunter's play 'Pocatello' opens at New York's Playwrights Horizons

Idaho-raised playwright Sam Hunter continues his path toward the great American play.

Hunter’s play ‘Pocatello’ opened at Playwrights Horizons on Dec. 15 with a strong review in the New York Times.

Hunter, a Moscow native, has been a growing influence in the theater world with a host of award-winning plays and commissions over the past few years. He now lives in New York City, where he burst on the scene in 2010 with the Obie Award-winning "A Bright New Boise," a play set in a Boise Hobby Lobby. His 2012 play, "The Whale," about a morbidly obese man dying over the course of a 110-minute intermission-less play, won him a Drama Desk Award and a Whiting Foundation Fellowship. He received the fabled MacArthur Foundation genius grant in September.

Hunter maintains strong Idaho roots as the state is a strong influence on his work. He premiered two plays at Boise Contemporary Theater in 2012 and is in discussions about a third. He also is a semi-regular presence at Seven Devils Playwrights Conference in McCall, where he has workshopped several of his plays. 

“Pocatello” stars T.R. Knight (“Grey’s Anatomy”) as Eddie, manager of an Italian-themed chain restaurant in Pocatello, a town that’s slowly dying as big-store franchises move out.

The more Eddie tries to pull his staff together as a family, the more things unravel.

Ben Brantley of the New York Times compares Hunter’s themes of the bleak rural American landscape to that of William Inge (“Picnic”) and Larry McMurtry (“The Last Picture Show”) in his review "‘Pocatello’: Where hope isn’t what’s for dinner.”

Read Brantley’s review here.

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