Albee's Occupant Will Return to New York Stage

News   Albee's Occupant Will Return to New York Stage Occupant, one of the most frustrating tickets of the past New York theatre season, will return to the boards by the end of the year, its author Edward Albee told Playbill On-Line May 15.

Occupant, one of the most frustrating tickets of the past New York theatre season, will return to the boards by the end of the year, its author Edward Albee told Playbill On-Line May 15.

Occupant, a two-character play about sculptress Louise Nevelson, ended its limited run April 7 at Signature Theatre Company's Peter Norton Space on 42nd Street. The show's star was Anne Bancroft, but the actress fell sick during the run of the show and missed several performances. The engagement was briefly suspended and the run shortened. As a result, few theatregoers saw Bancroft perform in the play and no press performances were offered to the city's critics.

Albee said the show would again play Off-Broadway, though not the Signature, which is dedicating its 2002-03 season to playwright Lanford Wilson. As for the star, nothing is certain. Said Albee: "I'd love to have Anne do it, if she feels well enough."

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The world premiere of Edward Albee's new work about artist Louise Nevelson was a hot item when it was announced that Tony and Academy Award-winner Anne Bancroft would star, but excitement turned to frustration for audiences and Bancroft when the star fell ill. The two-character play went dark Feb. 23-March 18 to allow Bancroft to recover from pneumonia. She returned March 21 and continued to the show's scheduled April 7 close.

Standby Kathleen Butler played the role of sculptor Nevelson in the two character play March 19-20, and for some shows in February when Bancroft fell ill. The title is inspired by the fact that the artist once insisted that her hospital room door be labeled "occupant" rather the "Louise Nevelson."

The two-hander is in an interview format in which sculptor Nevelson recounts her adventurous bohemian life in art, as an interviewer (Neal Huff) tries to separate fact from fiction.

In an earlier statement, Bancroft said, "I love this play. It's an incredibly valuable piece of theatre, and I can’t wait to get back to it."

Anthony Page directed.

—By Robert Simonson