This year, he will open the mainstage season BTF with Joseph Stein's comedy Enter Laughing. Dates are June 17-July 5. The play, based on a novel by Carl Reiner, made a star out of Alan Arkin when it debuted on Broadway.
Newcomer Jesse Bernstein has been cast in the lucky Arkin role. Backing him up are the solid New York comic character actors Ron Orbach and Alix Korey. Orbach played the Mel Brooks role in Neil Simon's Broadway comedy Laughter on the 29th Floor and was the original Franz in the Mel Brooks musical The Producers (before an injury forced him to exit the show during its Chicago run). Korey made an impact as a predatory lesbian in Andrew Lippa's Off-Broadway musical The Wild Party and was the pushy real estate agent in Off-Broadway's musical, Suburb.
Also in the cast are Rebecca Creskoff, Stuart Zagnit, Daniel Pearce, Deana Barone and Steve Rosen.
In other news, the mainstage season production of Lanford Wilson's Talley's Folly (July 29-Aug. 9), will star Mark Nelson and Kate Jennings Grant and is directed by Anders Cato. Nelson's many New York credits include A Few Good Men, The Invention of Love and Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Grant's most high profile role to date was as one of the Claires in Broadway's Proof.
Walter Hudson will be Captain Hook in a new version of Peter Pan (Aug. 12-29) by John Caird and Trevor Nunn, directed by Eric Hill. Also starring is Isadora Wolfe as the ageless flying boy. In the smaller Unicorn Theatre, the Tony-winning The Who's Tommy will get a new look a decade after its success on Broadway. The Who's "rock opera" album—about a catatonic boy who survives an abusive, loveless childhood to become a pinball-playing, guru-like celebrity—was adapted by the Who's Pete Townshend and director Des McAnuff into a stage musical. It ran for more than two years on Broadway and won Tonys for McAnuff's direction and Townsend's score, in a tie with Kander and Ebb's Kiss of the Spider Woman. The show has also become famous for the number of its many young cast members who went on to greater stage fame, including Michael Cerveris (Titanic, Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Romain Fruge (The Full Monty), Norm Lewis (Side Show, Amour), Alice Ripley (Side Show, The Rocky Horror Show), Jonathan Dokuchitz (The Boys from Syracuse, The Look of Love) and Michael McElroy (Violet, The Wild Party). Jared Coseglia will direct the new production, which runs July 16-Aug. 2.
Following Tommy on the Unicorn roster is a rare mounting of Stephen Sondheim's dark musical Assassins, Aug. 6-29. The revue like piece, which uses period musical styles to examine the psyches and fates of various successful and would-be Presidential assassins, debuted Off-Broadway in 1991 at Playwrights Horizons. A possible Broadway transfer was axed after the outbreak of the Gulf War rendered the piece inappropriate fare. A decade later, a planned Broadway revival of the piece by the Roundabout Theatre Company suffered a similar fate, as it was postponed in the wake of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Timothy Douglas will direct the BTF version.
The Unicorn season also features American Primitive (May 23-June 7), about John and Abigail Adams, directed by Gary English; and Nijinksky's Last Dance by Norman Allen (June 11-July 12), starring Jeremy Davidson and director by Joe Calarco.