Austin Pendleton, who starred on Broadway last season in the revival of The Diary of Anne Frank, is spending this season keeping busy Off- Off-Broadway. Currently, the actor is playing Claudius and the Ghost in a new production of Hamlet by New York's Frog & Peach Theatre Company. The play opened Jan. 31 and will run through Feb. 21.
While Pendleton is performing at night, his days are filled by directing duties at the Blue Heron Arts Center on E. 24th Street. There, he will stage Tony Vellela's drama Admissions, the story of a group of diverse student leaders who take over the offices of the college president only to be torn apart by their own political differences. The play will open Feb. 28 and run through Mar. 28.
And, as if that weren't enough, Pendleton is currently involved in a cabaret act, playing Mondays at Eighty-Eights.
Vellela and Pendleton have been working on Admissions since 1992, staging numerous reading with the likes of Cynthia Nixon and Stephen Mailer. The play, under Pendleton's direction, was first produced, to some acclaim, in 1995 at New Perspectives Theater.
Over the past decade, the Obie Award-winning Pendleton has made a habit of accepting big assignments with small Off-Off-Broadway companies. One of his first such roles was, in fact, the title role in Hamlet, staged by the now-defunct Riverside Shakespeare Company. Recent roles have included Richard III and Iago. Pendleton began his acting career in the original production of Oh Dad, Poor Dad... by Arthur Kopit and directed by Jerome Robbins. Other credits include Fiddler on the Roof , The Last, Sweet Days of Isaac , The Sorrows of Frederick , Sophistry , acting in the Mike Nichols The Little Foxes and directing the Elizabeth Taylor The Little Foxes . His movies include "What's Up, Doc?," "Simon," "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge" and "Amistad." He's also author of the acclaimed plays Booth and Uncle Bob.
For information on Admissions, call (212) 332-0027.
-- By Robert Simonson