Bates and Langella Exit Bway as Fool Closes July 21; London Next?

News   Bates and Langella Exit Bway as Fool Closes July 21; London Next? Theatre veterans Alan Bates and Frank Langella will conclude their Tony-winning work in the Broadway production of Russian master Ivan Turgenev's Fortune's Fool, as adapted by Mike Poulton, July 21.

Theatre veterans Alan Bates and Frank Langella will conclude their Tony-winning work in the Broadway production of Russian master Ivan Turgenev's Fortune's Fool, as adapted by Mike Poulton, July 21.

The show quietly began previews March 8 at the Music Box Theatre and opened on April 2 to respectful-to-good reviews. The Tonys were a little more than respectful, though. Both Langella and Bates won trophies for their masterly portrayals, Best Featured Actor in a Play and Best Actor in a Play, respectively, which were widely regarded as among the best of the season. The venture was always planned as a limited run.

Backstage at the Tony ceremony, Langella said the Turgenev work may bow in London this fall. "We've been asked to do it in London, Alan Bates and I. We're discussing it. The producer Duncan Weldon would do it, possibly at the Haymarket Theatre this coming fall. That would be great if that could happen. I'm very excited about it."

However, by July 19, the London plans had not yet firmed up. Poulton, meanwhile, has completed a screenplay for a planned film version. Information on whether the popular show had recouped its investment could not be attained.

* This was the Broadway debut of the Turgenev play, about a cash-poor gentleman (Bates) who has lost his lands and managed to linger on for 20 years as a guest at a Russian estate. Langella plays a meddling, arrogant neighbor who gets in the way of Bates' reunion with the returning daughter of the long-gone master of the estate. An end-of first-act scene in which Langella's character maliciousness gets a garrulous Bates drunk has become the stuff of acting legend.

Turgenev (1818-83) is best known for his novels. His acknowledged stage masterpiece is A Month in the Country, last seen on Broadway at the Roundabout Theater Company in a mounting featuring Helen Mirren, F. Murray Abraham and Ron Rifkin.

Fortune's Fool also stars Bates' son, Benedick Bates (of the West End's Semi-Monde), Enid Graham (a Tony Award nominee for Honour), Beth Bartley (an Acting Company veteran), Timothy Doyle (Vienna: Lusthaus), Ann Ducati (a Denver Center Theatre Company veteran who has worked in New York and major regionals), Patrick Hallahan (a Juilliard and UCLA alum), Jeremy Hollingworth (MTC's Fuddy Meers), George Morfogen (Uncle Bob, Broadway's An Inspector Calls), John Newton (Abe Lincoln in Illinois, Best Little Whorehouse...) Edwin C. Owens (a busy actor with choice credits at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Guthrie and Pittsburgh Public), Obie Award-winner Lola Pashalinski (Kushner's Dybbuk and the Central Park Skin of Our Teeth) and Jeff Talbott (JRT's Home of the Brave).

Mike Poulton is known for his Chekhov adaptations (Broadway's 2000 Uncle Vanya with Derek Jacobi and Laura Linney). Noted film director and Tony winner Arthur Penn ("Bonnie and Clyde") helms, with Jane Greenwood creating the costumes, Brian Nason (1776) the lighting, Brian Ronan (Cabaret) the sound and John Arnone the set.

Actor Bates is a Tony winner for 1973's Butley and a film star via "An Unmarried Woman" and "Women in Love."

Langella played husband to Joan Collins' wife in the West End bow of Ken Ludwig's Moon Over Buffalo, retitled Over the Moon for English audiences unfamiliar with the Great Lakes city. Langella left the production after only a brief stay in the comedy and amid rumors of backstage fights with Collins. The actor's last Broadway credit was Present Laughter, directed by Scott Elliott.

For ticket information, call (212) 239-6200.