New York Theatre Workshop, the downtown Manhattan venue that gave rise to Rent will house Bob, the latest piece by Anne Bogart and her SITI company, beginning performances Apr. 23.
Bob takes its cue from the writings of designer/director Robert Wilson -- though the show isn't specifically about him. Wilson's three-dimensional, computer generated film Monsters of Grace 1.0 with composer Philip Glass has a premiere at UCLA's Royce Hall, Apr. 15. The two previously collaborated on the 1976 opera, Einstein on the Beach.
NYTW director of audience development Randal [sic] Lichtenwalner described Bob as being about, "an artist struggling to create art in a society that doesn't always appreciate that." Bogart previously brought The Medium to NYTW, where she is a "Usual Suspect," that is, part of a loosely-knit group of actors, writers and directors affiliated with the theatre. The writers meet two or three times a month for workshops, discussions and readings. Bob was developed through that.
As for Mark Ravenhill's Shopping and Fucking, an Off-Broadway British import about a group of young people in 1990s London who have gone by the wayside, there have been cast changes in recent weeks. New to the play are Elizabeth Marvel (Therese Raquin, Arts & Leisure and Taking Sides), Jay Goede (Sex & Longing, Gross Indecency) and Tim Mitchell. *
In other New York Theatre Workshop news, more than a year ago, New York Magazine reported that the company was considering a musical based on Jay McInerney's 1984 novel, Bright Lights, Big City, scripted by McInerney with a score by Paul Scott Goodman.
Audience development director Lichtenwalner told Playbill On-Line (May 21, 1997), "We had an excellent reading, and everyone's very excited about it. The only thing keeping us from moving ahead is that we have so many other projects we're already committed to... We're trying to help the author bring develop it for either here or another theatre."
Now Variety reports (Mar. 24) Bright Lights will debut at NYTW in Feb. 1999, with a book and score by Goodman, to be directed by Michael Greif, who helmed Rent. Lichtenwalner responded by saying NYTW's next season hasn't been firmed up yet. "We have an interest in developing the piece, and we really want to do it, but no formal decision has been made." In fact, NYTW isn't quite ready to announce the double-bill that will cap this season.
Even so, Goodman told Variety, "I read the McInerney book in August 1996, and it turned me on. I mean, it's about drugs, sex, rock 'n' roll and clubs in New York." Bright Lights appears to be a natural choice for NYTW, considering the similar subject matter of such recent shows there as Rent and the current Shopping and Fucking.
Author of the musicals Tiny Dancer and Domestica, Goodman told Variety Bright Lights would be 95 percent through-sung and that he would appear in it as "a singing narrator." Rehearsals begin in December.