Playwrights Horizons to Open New House With Old Favorites
By Mike Salinas
November 9, 2002
With work nearly completed on its new $32 million facility, Playwrights
Horizons is looking forward to the future -- and looking back at its past.
The venerable theater company will inaugurate its new Edith K. Ehrman Building
in January with concert performances of Falsettos, Violet, Floyd
Collins, and Laughing Wild, shows it initially nurtured in its
old space. Most of the cast members and directors from the original productions
are participating, helping to provide a sense of continuity as the company
and its supporters get accustomed to the new digs.
The musicals will be presented in the 198-seat Mainstage Theater on the first
floor of the Ehrman building, located at 416 West 42nd Street; the old building
at that site was razed to make way for the new one, so the address remains
the same. The only non-musical of the series, Laughing Wild, will
be performed in the Peter Jay Sharp Studio Theater --a venue that can seat
96 to 128, depending on how it is configured. Both theaters are accessible
to patrons in wheelchairs.
The series will begin with Falsettos, starring Michael Rupert, Alison
Fraser, Chip Zien, Heather MacRae, Faith Prince, Brent Barrett, and Janet
Metz. Written by William Finn and originally directed by James Lapine, the
show was presented at Playwrights Horizons as two separate, stand-alone musicals
-- March of the Falsettos in 1981 and Falsettoland in 1990
-- before the combined work was presented on Broadway, winning Tony awards
for its score and book. The concert version, directed by Lonny Price, will
run at Playwrights January 9-12; its first performance is already sold out.
Laughing Wild,by Christopher Durang, will run from January 13-15, starring
Durang and E. Catherine Carr. The three-section work examines, Rashomon-like,
an altercation involving a blocked supermarket aisle and a can of tuna that
exceeds a shopper's grasp.
Violet, a musical by Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley, will playing January 16-19. Based on The Ugliest Pilgrim by Doris Betts, it won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New Musical and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical when it debuted at Playwrights in 1997. Susan H. Shulman, who directed that production, will also direct the concert; and Lauren Ward will return to the title role of a disfigured Southern woman who travels to see a washed-up preacher in hopes that he can remove the scar from her face. Ward will be joined by fellow original cast members Stephen Lee Anderson, Michael McElroy, Cass Morgan, Roz Ryan, and Michael Park.
The series will end with Floyd Collins, Adam Guettel and Tina Landau,
which won the 1996 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical. Landau,
who directed the show at Playwrights in 1996, will also direct the concert
version, featuring original cast members Stephen Lee Anderson, Matthew Bennett,
Jason Danieley, Martin Moran, and Cass Morgan. Romain Frugé, who played
Floyd in a 1999 tour, will perform the role in place of Christopher Innvar.
Tickets for are priced at $35 for Laughing Wild and $60 for each
of the musicals, except for special benefit performances on January 12, 16,
and 23. Tickets for those shows, which will be hosted by the creative teams
and followed by receptions with the casts and companies, are $150, of which
$90 is a tax-deductible donation to Playwrights Horizons' Building for the