Albee's Dream and Sandbox Begin Previews March 21

News   Albee's Dream and Sandbox Begin Previews March 21 The 21st-century return of two seminal Edward Albee one-act plays — The American Dream and The Sandbox — begin previews at Off-Broadway's Cherry Lane Theatre March 21.
Judith Ivey in The American Dream.
Judith Ivey in The American Dream. Photo by Gabe Evans

Performances had been scheduled to commence March 11 but were canceled due to the illness of actress Myra Carter. Carter has since bowed out of the production; she has been replaced by Lois Markle.

Markle is an Albee veteran, having performed in productions of Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf? at Trinity Square Rep, the national tour of Three Tall Women, A Delicate Balance at Arizona Theatre Co. and Three Tall Women at Old Globe. Her other stage credits include the Broadway productions of True West, The Grapes of Wrath, A Warm Body and Calculated Risk.

Both one-acts — directed by playwright Albee — also feature Tony Award winner Judith Ivey, Drama Desk Award winner George Bartenieff, Kathleen Butler, Harmon Walsh and (in Sandbox only) Jesse Williams. Daniel Shevlin plays the musician.

The production will officially open April 1 and run through April 19.

Written in 1959, The Sandbox, press notes state, "introduces one of America's most dysfunctional families, a grasping, materialistic married couple who stage a perverse seaside idyll destined to end in the demise of the wife's aged mother. In this pioneering work, Albee manipulates clichés of language and social mores, breaking the fourth wall and purposefully destroying the audience's illusion of passive observation of the action of the play." American Dream, written in 1960, "continues the story of The Sandbox's Mommy and Daddy. It is a ferocious, uproarious attack on the substitution of artificial for real values, a startling tale of murder and morality that rocks middle-class ethics to their complacent foundations. In it, Albee explores the hollowness of the American dream, as well as the fallacy of the ideal American family."

George Bartenieff in The American Dream.
photo by Gabe Evans

Bartenieff plays Daddy with Butler as Mrs. Barker, Markle as Grandma, Ivey as Mommy, Walsh as the American Dream and Williams as the Angel of Death (in The Sandbox). Discussions with playwright-director Albee will take place following the March 26 and April 8 performances.

Edward Albee won Best Play Tony Awards for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? He was also Tony nominated for The Ballad of the Sad Café, Tiny Alice, A Delicate Balance and Seascape. Albee is also the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes, the Gold Medal in Drama from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts.

Four major Edward Albee productions will be seen in and around New York City in the 2007-08 season, during which the playwright will turned 80 (on March 12). The season has been dubbed "The Albee Season" and includes Peter and Jerry at Second Stage; Me, Myself and I at the McCarter Theatre; The Sandbox and The American Dream at the Cherry Lane Theatre; and Occupant at the Signature Theatre Company.

Show times are Tuesdays at 7 PM, Wednesdays-Saturdays at 8 PM with matinees Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 PM.

Tickets, priced $60 (regular), $20 (student advance) and $10 (student rush), are available by calling (212) 239-6200 or by visiting www.telecharge.com. The Cherry Lane Theatre is located in Manhattan at 38 Commerce Street, near Seventh Avenue, between Bedford and Barrow Streets. For more information visit www.cherrylanetheatre.org.

George Bartenieff and Judith Ivey in <i>The Sandbox.</i>
George Bartenieff and Judith Ivey in The Sandbox. Photo by Gabe Evans