Anne Bancroft is expected to return to the Off-Broadway world premiere of Edward Albee's Occupant, about sculptor Louise Nevelson, March 21, two days later than planned.
The illness of the famed Tony Award-winning actress prompted the postponement of the initial run of Occupant by Signature Theatre Company in Manhattan Feb. 23-March 18, and a recovered Bancroft was to return March 19. Standby Kathleen Butler played the role of artist Nevelson in the two-character play March 19 and will go on March 20, as Bancroft takes a little extra rehearsal time, according to a spokesperson.
It was also confirmed by a spokesperson March 21 that because the show is sold out, there will be no press performance for the shortened run. That will not prevent reviews from appearing, however: Critics are often connected enough to get into a sold-out show via subscribers, friends or by buying their tickets in advance. Some papers do indeed pay for tickets for their reviewers in accordance with ethics policies of individual news organizations. Signature hopes for a future run of the show in some form, but there are currently no plans, a spokesperson said.
The decision to suspend shows Feb. 22 came after Anne Bancroft was taken ill with pneumonia and had to miss two weeks of previews (which started Feb. 5) at the Off-Broadway nonprofit devoted to new works by a stable of specific writers. Bancroft played the first week. Butler performed in her absence before the Feb. 22 shutdown. Bancroft was promised to play the last three weeks of the scheduled run, which will end April 7. The two-hander is in an interview format in which sculptor Nevelson recounts her adventurous bohemian life in art, as an interviewer (Neal Huff) tries to separate fact from fiction.
In an earlier statement, Bancroft said, "I love this play. It's an incredibly valuable piece of theatre, and I can’t wait to get back to it."
Anthony Page directs. Signature Theatre Company's Peter Norton Space is located at 555 W. 42nd Street (between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues). The performance schedule is 8 PM Tuesday Saturday, with matinees on 2 PM Saturday and 3 PM Sunday. Single tickets are $60. For subscription and ticket information, call (212) 244 PLAY.
Everything's coming up Albee this spring: Broadway has The Goat or Who is Sylvia? and the Roundabout Theatre Company is bringing McCarter Theatre's All Over, starring Rosemary Harris, to Off-Broadway's Gramercy Theatre in June.
— By Kenneth Jones