Alan Bates Is Fortune's Fool, as Russian Play Opens on Bway, April 2

News   Alan Bates Is Fortune's Fool, as Russian Play Opens on Bway, April 2

Theatre veterans Alan Bates and Frank Langella return to Broadway with the April 2 Music Box Theatre opening of Russian master Ivan Turgenev's Fortune's Fool, as adapted by Mike Poulton.

Previews began on March 8, after a tryout Feb. 22-March 3 in Stamford, CT. A limited run of 96 performances is planned.

This is the Broadway debut of the Turgenev play, about a cash- poor gentleman (Bates) who has lost his lands and managed to linger on for 20 years as a guest at a Russian estate. Langella plays a meddling, arrogant neighbor who gets in the way of Bates' reunion with the returning daughter of the long-gone master of the estate.

In the U.S., Turgenev (1818-83) is known for his novels. His stage masterpiece is A Month in the Country, last seen on Broadway at the Roundabout Theater Company in a mounting featuring Helen Mirren, F. Murray Abraham and Ron Rifkin. Fortune's Fool also stars Bates' son, Benedick Bates, Enid Graham (a Tony Award nominee for Honour), Beth Bartley, Timothy Doyle, Ann Ducati, Patrick Hallahan, Jeremy Hollingworth, George Morfogen (Uncle Bob), John Newton, Edwin C. Owens, Obie Award-winner Lola Pashalinski (Kushner's Dybbuk and the Central Park Skin of Our Teeth) and Jeff Talbott.

Mike Poulton is known for his Chekhov adaptations (Broadway's 2000 Uncle Vanya with Derek Jacobi and Laura Linney). Noted film director and Tony winner Arthur Penn ("Bonnie and Clyde") helms, with Jane Greenwood creating the costumes, Brian Nason (1776) the lighting, Brian Ronan (Cabaret) the sound and John Arnone the set.

Actor Bates is a Tony winner for 1973's Butley and a film star via "An Unmarried Woman" and "Women in Love." He recently donated £50,000 to The Actors' Centre in Covent Garden. It was a display of both generosity and family loyalty in helping refurbish the Tristan Bates Theatre, the Centre's auditorium. The theatre, which Bates helped found, is named in honor of his son, a model, who died at age 19, some 10 years ago, of complications following an asthma attack when working in Japan. Bates's other son, Tristan's twin is the aforementioned Benedick Bates who appeared earlier this year at the Lyric, Shaftesbury Avenue, in Thelma Holt's production of Noel Coward's Semi Monde. Before Fortune's Fool he toured with his father in a stage version of Oscar Wilde's The Picture Of Dorian Gray.

Langella played husband to Joan Collins' wife in the West End bow of Ken Ludwig's Moon Over Buffalo, retitled Over the Moon for English audiences unfamiliar with the Great Lakes city. Langella left the production after only a brief stay in the comedy and amid rumors of backstage fights with Collins. The actor's last Broadway credit was Present Laughter, directed by Scott Elliott. His most recent New York appearance was as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.

Graham, who came to the fore in the Jane Alexander vehicle, Honour, has been a frequent Off Broadway presence since, including the recent Psych and stints in revivals of Look Back in Anger and Crimes of the Heart.

Poulton's play is being produced by SFS Productions (Julian Schlossberg, Roy L. Furman and Ben Sprecher), Ted Tulchin, Aaron Levy, Peter May, Bob Boyett, James Fantaci. Associate producers are Rita Gam & Jill Furman.

For ticket information, call (212) 239-6200.