Previewing a strong new season -- on Broadway and off
(Page 2 of 2)
Other incoming musicals share a recurring common denominator: They rely in some way or another on the past. "Merrily We Roll Along" is George Furth and Stephen Sondheim's version of the 1934 Kaufman-Hart comedy. "Shubert Alley" commemorates the Shubert brothers and reprises songs from their shows. In "Oh Brother," Donald Driver and Michael Valenti transport a loose adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors" to a Mideastern oil sheikhdom. The Comden and Green team and Larry Grossman have written "A Doll's Life," which imagines what happened to Nora after she slammed the door on "A Doll's House." Not forgetting revivals, "Camelot," starring Richard Harris, is due back on Broadway.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Other projects in various stages of preparation include "The Gift Horse," adapted by Will Holt and Harold Faltermeier from actress Hildegarde Knef's autobiography; "Sayonara," taken by William Aubert Luce, George Fischoff, and Hy Gilbert from the James Michener novel; and "Great Expectations," yet another borrowing from the Dickens treasury.
As for the classics, the Circle in the Square will open its season with Shaw's "Candida," starring Joanne Woodward, to be followed by Nicol Williamson in Shakespeare's "Macbet." The reliable Roundabout Theater is extending indefinitely its first-rate revival of Shaw's "Misalliance" and will present Michael York in "Hamlet" among its 1981-82 offerings. Later this season, James Earl Jones and Christopher Plummer are due in town with "Othello," now at the American Shakespeare Theater, Stratford, Conn. William Hurt will head a Circle Repertory Theater production of "Richard II."
Among the Circle Rep's other projects are "Threads," a Southern homecoming drama by Jonathan Bolt; Jules Feiffer's "A Think Piece," about the travails of a trivialist; and "K-2," a mountain cliffhanger by Patrick Meyers, to be produced in collaboration with the Phoenix Theater. The Phoenix inaugurates its season with "Maggie and Pierre," a play by Linda Griffiths and Paul Thompson about Canada's Trudeaus.
Things are humming as usual at the Public Theater, that powerhouse down on Lafayette Street. Currently in preparation are "The Ballad of Dexter Creed," by and starring Michael Moriarty, and "Family Devotions," by David Henry Hwang, author of "The Dance and the Railroad," now at the Public. Ed Kleban, lyricist of "A Chorus Line," is working on his new musical, "Gallery," with a development team that includes director Richard Maltby Jr., choreographer Graciela Daniele, musical director William Elliott, and arranger Jonathan Tunick. Still ahead this season at the Public are works by Elizabeth Swados, David Rabe, and Ntozake Shange.
Other Off Broadway coming attractions promise such goodies as Jeffrey A. Moss's movie-milieu "Double Feature," with Carole Shelley, Stephen Vinovich, Pamela Blair, and Don Scardino. The Colonnades Theater Lab is presenting "Three by Pinero." The Manhattan Theater Club's starter is a revival of Clifford Odets's "Paradise Lost." Among the season's new plays will be "The Good Parts," by Israel Horowitz.
As usual, Off Broadway and nonprofit resident theaters will be contributing to Broadway's sustenance. Beth Henley's Pulitzer Prize play, "Crimes of the Heart," comes to Broadway from the Actors Theater. Bill C. Davis's "Mass Appeal" was done at the Manhattan Theater Club. Tom Griffin's "Einstein and the Polar Bear" was presented at the Hartford Stage Company. Jules Feiffer's 1974 comedy, "Grownups," was recently acted at Harvard University's American Repertory Theater. There will undoubtedly be other such transfers and borrowings in the course of the season.