It's time for the Baby to be born in America. Edward Albee's The Play About the Baby officially has its U.S. premiere engagement at Houston's Alley Theatre April 12. Marian Seldes and Earle Hyman lead the cast, directed by Albee himself. Performances began April 7 for a run through May 6.
Although Baby was rumored to be a sequel to Albee's most revered work, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, where an imaginary child is discussed, the four-character play is not a continuation of that storyline. Instead, it tells of a young couple who appear to have just had a child, only to find that illusion challenged by the arrival of an older man and woman. Baby made its world premiere in September, 1998 in London. Other Albee plays are the Pulitzer Prize winners A Delicate Balance, Seascape and Three Tall Women, as well as the short works The Zoo Story and The American Dream, which Albee directed for the Alley last season.
A Tony winner for Albee's Delicate Balance, Seldes was nominated for a 1999 Tony Award for her work in Ring Round the Moon, in which she replaced an ailing Irene Worth as Madame Desmermortes. A Theatre Hall of Fame inductee in 1996, Seldes' New York credits include Three Tall Women, The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore, Father's Day, Equus, Deathtrap and Ivanov.
Hyman is best known for his television role as Russell Huxtable, Bill Cosby's father on "The Cosby Show." A veteran theatre performer, he was Tony nominated for Albee's The Lady From Dubuque and went on to perform on Broadway in Execution of Justice, The Master Builder and Anna Lucasta. He also starred in Driving Miss Daisy Off Broadway.
Also in the cast are Rebecca Harris and David Burtka. Harris recently appeared at New York City's Signature Theatre's production of Enter the Night as well as Oleanna and Our Town at the Alley. Burtka's credits include the Off-Broadway production of Beautiful Thing, the national tour of Beauty and the Beast and the PaperMill Playhouse production of Children of Eden. Tickets to The Play About the Baby are $49-$19. The Alley Theatre is located at 615 Texas Avenue. For tickets, call (713) 228-8421 or (800) 259-ALLE. The Alley Theatre is on the web at http://www.alleytheatre.com.
The addition of The Play About the Baby will cause a disruption in the previously announced Alley season. Baby takes the time slot originally slated for Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, which will now run May 19-June 18. Romeo and Juliet set for that run will be moved to a future Alley season. Season ticket holders will keep their seats, but single ticket holders to Romeo and Juliet may contact the theatre at (713) 228-8421 for refund information.
-- By Christine Ehren