Leslie Ayvazian's Nine Armenians, which follows three generations of an Armenian-American family, opened Nov. 12 at NY's Manhattan Theatre Club, kicking off the theatre's 25th mainstage season. Strong reviews and audience interest have led the theatre to extend Nine Armenians, which was supposed to run through Dec. 29, to Jan. 12, 1997.
Angels In America's Kathleen Chalfant and Most Happy Fella's Sophie Hayden head a cast that includes Michael Countryman, Cameron Boyd, Richard Council, Linda Emond, Sevanne Martin, Ellen Muth and Ed Setrakian. The comedy/drama also features live music by George Mgrdician [sic], with choreography by Michael Assaf.
Director Lynn Meadow staged the Broadway premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's A Small Family Business and the Off-Broadway premieres of Ayckbourn's Absent Friends and Woman In Mind, as well as Lee Blessing's Eleemosynary.
In his Daily News review, Howard Kissel praised the play's warmth and humor, though he wished Ayvazian better tackled the larger issue of Armenian genocide by the Turks. "Ayvazian is at her most successful," Kissel wrote, in depicting the clan's grandmother, Non, and her daughter, Armine, both of whom have the traditional reserve we associate with women from the Old Country..."
Other plays by Leslie Ayvazian include the solo Footlights, Practice and Singer's Boy, to be staged at the American Conservatory Theatre this year. Productions at (and/or by) Manhattan Theatre Club over the past quarter century include Terrence McNally's Love! Valour! Compassion! and Lips Together, Teeth Apart and August Wilson's The Piano Lesson and Seven Guitars.
Nine Armenians, recipient of the Roger L. Stevens Award, runs to Jan. 12, 1997 at Manhattan Theatre Club in the City Center building on West 55th St. For tickets ($45) and information call (212) 581-1212.
-- By David Lefkowitz