Art, the Yasmina Reza comedy (translated by Christopher Hampton), is racking up box-office receipts and rave reviews in its West Coast debut at the UCLA/James A. Doolittle Theatre. The show, which opened Jan. 21, has exceeded the $2 million advance-sale mark and has announced a one-month extension through April 11.
Starring the Broadway cast of Alan Alda, Victor Garber and Alfred Molina, Art was praised by every major critic." Garber, who plays Serge, the buyer of the notorious white-on-white painting that so upsets his friends, is not surprised at the play's ecstatic reception. "It's a wonderful play," he said in an exclusive interview with Playbill On-Line, "if only because it touches something deep in all of us. It's essentially a serious play with many comic moments. For me, it's about the good and bad in people--the characters represent three aspects of the same person. That's why everyone in the audience can identify with the characters at different times, thereby recognizing something in themselves."
Garber, a four-time nominee for such shows as Damn Yankees, Lend Me a Tenor, Little Me and Deathtrap, considers this play the most enjoyable acting experience of his life.
"It's a true ensemble piece and it's what acting is all about. We get more and more refined as we work together and consequently the text deepens and becomes more resonant. I can't tell you how happy I am to be in a good production like this; every night something electric seems to happen on stage."
The credit, he feels, goes partly to the actors and the text, but also to the director, Matthew Warchus. "It's been a true collaboration between us. We've all worked within the same parameters." Garber was delighted to hear from Reza, who came to Los Angeles for opening night, that this was her favorite production of the play. "She said she loves this company and that, even though she's tired of listening to her own play, she had to see them perform it one more time." Garber also raved about Reza as a person. "She's incredibly honest and funny," he said. "A smart, charming, intoxicating woman."
Garber said that when Art closes, he will return to New York and play a part in the new Stephen Sondheim musical, Wise Guys, if and when it makes it to Broadway.