They're having a Party at Manhattan's tiny ArcLight Theatre, and audiences are invited. Those who attend will get to see F. Murray Abraham and Joyce Van Patten playing lead roles in a new comedy by Australian writer Elizabeth Coleman. Directed by Jeannie Berlin, It's My Party (And I'll Die If I Want To) began previews Aug. 3 and officially opens Aug. 19.
Coleman's comedy features Abraham in the role of a father who bonds with his family in the last hours of his life. The absurdist-tinged play is set in a middle-class living room, where Abraham's selfish patriarch prompts family secrets, memories and revelations out of his wife (Van Patten, late of Broadway's Ring 'Round the Moon) and his three grown children (Rene Augesen, Adam Grupper and Andrea Gabriel). John Cariani plays a morbid visitor.
The title is an obvious spoof of the hit song sung by Lesley Gore, "It's My Party (And I'll Cry If I Want To)."
Julian Schlossberg, Mark Golub and Mark Balsam produce the dark comedy, directed by Jeannie Berlin. The show is scheduled for an eight-week run through Sept. 25. If Party is a hit, an extension would be likely.
Abraham won the Best Actor Academy Award for playing Salieri in Amadeus, and appeared in the Broadway musical, Triumph of Love. Designers are George Xenos (set), Dona Granata (costume), Michael Lincoln (lighting) and Bernard Fox (sound).
-- By Kenneth Jones
and David Lefkowitz