Estelle Parsons in 'The Velocty of Autumn'

Estelle Parsons in 'The Velocty of Autumn' (Teresa Wood / December 12, 2013)

Eric Coble's dark-funny play "The Velocity of Autumn," a popular and critical success at Arena Stage in a potent production starring Estelle Parsons and directed by Molly Smith back in the fall, is heading to Broadway next April.

The staging will mark the Broadway debuts of Coble and Smith, Arena's artistic director.  It's the 20th Arena staging to get a Broadway showing in the D.C. company's 63 years.

"Velocity" will start previews April 1 at the Booth Theatre and open April 21 for what its being called a limited engagement.

The play, which provides a perfect showcase for Parson's extraordinary gifts, concerns an aging artist who barricades herself in her Brooklyn brownstone and arms herself with Molotov cocktails -- all to thwart her family's wishes to send her to a retirement home. The arrival of an estranged son (Stephen Spinella played the role at Arena and will reprise it in New York) proves combustible in several ways. 

(I wouldn't be surprised if a show now playing at Arena, Todd Kreidler's adaptation of the 1960s film "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," were to generate interest on Broadway, too. I'll have more to say on this production later.)