Spring Season 2017 | February - May 2017


by Halley Feiffer

Tuesday, 28 February – Saturday, 25 March 2017

The UK premiere

★★★★★ The Upcoming
★★★★★ Broadway World
★★★★★ Everything Theatre
★★★★★ Act Drop
★★★★ London Pub Theatres
★★★★ Reviews Gate
★★★★ London Theatre 1
★★★★ Paul in London
★★★★ The Arts Desk
★★★★ WhatsOnStage

“Everything I did – every decision I made – led me right here – right to this moment, here with you.”

Ella is a precocious and fiercely competitive actress whose sole aim in life is making her famous playwright father, David, proud. Over the course of a wickedly intense evening, Ella and David deliberate whether to read the reviews of her off-Broadway debut. But that decision could shatter their relationship forever…

A hilarious and gut wrenching black comedy which sheds new light on the eternal struggles of family life. I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard reminds us that you don’t have to be part of a theatrical family to know that life is filled with drama. And for that, there’s no dress rehearsal.

I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard received its critically acclaimed Off-Broadway premiere in 2015, breaking box office records and earning Feiffer a nomination for an Outer Critics’ Circle Award. It is directed by Jake Smith, previous Trainee Director in residence at Chichester Festival Theatre, who returns to the Finborough Theatre following his sell-out revival of Andy Capp the Musical.


Playwright Halley Feiffer began her writing career at a young age when she won the National Young Playwrights’ Contest in 2002. Full-length plays include How to Make Friends and Kill Them (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York City (MCC Theater). Theatre as actor includes The House of Blue Leaves (Walter Kerr Theater, Broadway) for which she won a Theatre World Award, Tigers Be Still (Roundabout Theatre Company), Some Americans Abroad, suburbia and Election Day (2ST), Still Life (MCC Theater) and None of the Above (Lion Theatre).


Director Jake Smith is a Resident Director at the Almeida Theatre. He began his career at Hull Truck and was a founding member of Assemble Fest, a large-scale theatre festival launched following Hull's winning City of Culture campaign. He was the Trainee Director in Residence at Chichester Festival Theatre from 2014-2016. Jake was recently Staff Director on Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Theatre Royal Haymarket and National Tour). Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Andy Capp the Musical. Direction includes The Tempest (Petersfield Shakespeare Festival), Citizenship (National Theatre Connections, Chichester Festival Youth Theatre and The Capitol Theatre, Horsham), The Boy Who Built Clock (Arts Theatre), A Christmas Carol (Chichester Festival Theatre), Smoke (and mirrors) (Derby Theatre for Theatre Uncut), The Little Match Girl (Assemble Fest, Hull), Alice’s Site (Hull Truck) and The Coronation of Poppea (Middleton Hall, Hull). Readings include Pangaea (Accrington Theatre New York), Arthur (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Swan Song (Minerva Theatre, Chichester, and Chichester Festival Theatre), I am Scratch (Old Red Lion Theatre) and Betjeman with Edward Fox (Chichester Festival Theatre). Jake has worked as Assistant Director with Howard Davies on For Services Rendered and Jamie Glover on Miss Julie and Black Comedy (Minerva Theatre, Chichester, and Chichester Festival Theatre), Nadia Fall on Way Upstream, Dale Rooks on The Hundred and One Dalmatians and Jonathan Kent on Gypsy (Chichester Festival Theatre), Max Stafford-Clark on Pitcairn (Chichester Festival Theatre and Out of Joint), Christopher Morahan on Stevie (Hampstead Theatre), and Sarah Louise Davies on Whale Music (Hull Truck).


“Remarkable, witty, heartbreaking, significant theatre.” Catherine Sedgwick, The Upcoming

“An extraordinary play which is funny, gritty, and self-aware.” Elisha Aylmore, London Pub Theatres

“Interesting, funny, extremely unnerving, very well directed and played.” Rod Dungate, Reviewsgate

“Dynamic edge-of-your seat play…I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard has all the makings of a modern classic and one can only hope that this won’t be the last time it makes an appearance on the London stage” Elisha Aylmore, London Pub Theatres

“Emotionally stunning.” Rob Warren, Everything Theatre

“Insightful, sometimes uncomfortably relatable theatre.” Cindy Marcolina, Broadway World

“A play full…of strong and convincing insights into the psychology of artists and of parents and children.” Gerald Berkowitz, TheatreGuideLondon

“Gripping, shocking, and raw, this is a black comedy with an emphasis on the black.” Elisha Aylmore, London Pub Theatres

“I’m Gonna Pray hits home with a sense of primal instinct.” Tom Birchenough, The Arts Desk

“To witness such a brilliant play and such a high calibre of acting in such an intimate space is really something special.” Elisha Aylmore, London Pub Theatres

“A powerful piece of theatre, as compelling as anything you could hope to see. And the chance to see it in such an intimate space, actors within reaching distance, just adds to the pleasure of the evening.” Rob Warren, Everything Theatre

“Fast paced, compelling, and very real” Elisha Aylmore, London Pub Theatres

“Playwright Halley Feiffer to be an entertaining, intriguing voice.” Edward Lukes, Once A Week Theatre

“Feiffer’s writing occasionally has the ferocity of Albee.” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub

“Exquisitely written and clearly heartfelt.” Catherine Sedgwick, The Upcoming

“It is that rare and thrilling thing – a…work with the unmistakeable voice of a real writer.” Gerald Berkowitz, TheatreGuideLondon

“Great writing by Halley Feiffer.” Rob Warren, Everything Theatre

“The acting is brilliant in this performance.” Catherine Sedgwick, The Upcoming

“Two stunning performances from Lukis and Winternitz.” Rob Warren, Everything Theatre

“Adrian Lukis and Jill Winternitz give layered and magnetic performances.” Gerald Berkowitz, TheatreGuideLondon

“A finely acted disturbing two hander.” Rod Dungate, Reviewsgate

“Superb acting and writing.” Rob Warren, Everything Theatre

“Adrian Lukis and Jill Winternitz are outstanding in Jake Smith's hard-hitting production.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

“Extremely well performed.” Rod Dungate, Reviewsgate

“Portrayed with emotion by Jill Winternitz.” Edward Lukes, Once A Week Theatre

“Jill Winternitz is outstanding.” Cindy Marcolina, Broadway World

“Jill Winternitz gives a stunning performance, believable and heart-rending from start to finish.”  Alice Josephs, Traffic Light Theatregoer

“Jill Winternitz plays Ella, the neurotic actress desperate for her father’s approval. This is an emotional and nuanced performance.” Elisha Aylmore, London Pub Theatres

“Adrian Lukis is phenomenal and real.” Catherine Sedgwick, The Upcoming

“Lukis dominates masterfully.” Cindy Marcolina, Broadway World

“Adrian Lukis, who plays David, is just out of this world… frighteningly believable… enchanting and terrifying.” Elisha Aylmore, London Pub Theatres

“Adrian Lukis gives a faultless performance.” Karen Pond, London Theatre 1

“Adrian Lukis gives a compelling, bravura performance.” Tom Birchenough, The Arts Desk

“Excellent direction.”  Catherine Sedgwick, The Upcoming

“Smith ably directs a thought-provoking piece.” Cindy Marcolina, Broadway World

“A fine play, well acted and thoughtfully directed by Jake Smith.” Alice Josephs, Traffic Light Theatregoer


“Bone-chilling… A potently acted, punishing drama by Halley Feiffer” Charles Isherwood, The New York Times

“Viciously funny… Brutally effective… Feiffer takes a tough look at the forces that can bring us to our knees” ★★★★ Time Out New York

“One of the best plays I’ve seen this season… Provocative, sensitive, shocking… The writing is polished and probing… A tense thriller that left me shaking” New York Observer

“Spectacular tension and real danger” Entertainment Weekly

“It’s a fearless piece of work, riveting and hilarious!” Bergen Record


"The young director Jake Smith is one to watch." Terri Paddock

"A moment of artistic genius by director Jake Smith. Mirrors loveable rogue is brought to life in stunning style" Daily Mirror on Andy Capp The Musical

"Jake Smith's witty production on the tiny Finborough stage gives it plenty of warmth, and a versatile cast frequently double as actor musicians to give the two person band added heft" Mark Shenton, The Stage

“Wonderfully inventive staging by Dale Rooks and Jake Smith" ★★★★★ The Argus on A Christmas Carol

“It is rare to see such a stunning piece of theatre among professional productions nowadays… A charming retelling of Dickens’ classic tale” ★★★★★ The Reviews Hub on A Christmas Carol


Adrian Lukis | David

Trained at Drama Studio London.
Theatre includes The Seagull (Chichester Festival Theatre and National Theatre), Dinner (Wyndham’s Theatre), The Philadelphia, Cloaca (The Old Vic), The Taming of the Shrew (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Relapse, Sleep with Me (National Theatre), Versailles (Donmar Warehouse), Dead Funny, The Front Page, (Chichester Festival Theatre), Sherlock Holmes – The Best Kept Secret (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Orson’s Shadow (Southwark Playhouse), Pygmalion (Theatre Royal Bath), As You Like It, Hay Fever (Rose Theatre, Kingston), The Winslow Boy and Arthur and George (Birmingham Rep).
Film includes City Slacker, Victim, Nine Miles Down, Innocent, Nightwatching, 7 Seconds, Me Without You, Young Blades and The Trench.

Television includes The Crown 2, Grantchester, Red Dwarf, Judge John Deed, Downton Abbey, Death in Paradise, Silk, Pride and Prejudice, Midsomer Murders, Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Silent Witness, Doctors, Fresh Meat, Outnumbered, Lewis, Heartbeat, A Touch of Frost, The Bill, Spooks and Foyle’s War.

Jill Winternitz | Ella

Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
West End Theatre includes Girl in Once (Phoenix Theatre) and Baby in Dirty Dancing (Piccadilly Theatre).
Other theatre includes Dark Tourism (Park Theatre), A Handful of Soil (Drayton Studio Theatre), Hamlet, The Canterbury Tales (Cunard) and The Seagull (Moscow Art Theatre School).
Film includes 10x10, A Streetcat Named Bob, Relics, The Sorrows and The Replacement Child.
Television includes Doctor Who.


Tuesday, 28 February – Saturday, 25 March 2017

Tuesday to Saturday Evenings at 7.30pm.
Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm.
Saturday Matinees 3.00pm (from 11 March 2017).

Performance Length: Approximately 90 minutes with no interval.

Prices until 12 March 2017

Tickets £16, £14 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £14 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £16 all seats.
Previews (28 February and 1 March) £12 all seats.

£10 tickets for Under 30's for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.

£12 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on Saturday, 4 March 2017 when booked online only.

Prices from 14 March 2017

Tickets £18, £16 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £16 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £18 all seats. 

For details of our Returns Policy for sold out performances, please click here


Directed by Jake Smith

Set and Costume Design by Anna Reid

Lighting Design by Jack Weir

Sound Design by Jon McLeod

Assistant Director Abi Rutter

Assistant Producer Chris Evans

Presented by Joe C Brown in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.