Playwright Douglas Carter Beane had his first critical and commercial success when Drama Dept. [sic] -- the theatre troupe he helped found and oversees as artistic director -- staged his Manhattan comedy, As Bees in Honey Drown. Now, company and dramatist seem to be striking lighting once again with The Country Club.
The new comedy, which began previews Sept. 14 and opens Sept. 29, has already extended its run a full month. The show was to end Oct. 9, those performances are sold out, so the show will now play through Nov. 6 at the Greenwich House Theatre, home of the Drama Dept.'s last five ventures. Christopher Ashley, a company member since piloting As Thousands Cheer, will direct. Cynthia Nixon, Tom Everett Scott, Callie Thorne, Amy Sedaris, Amy Hohn and Peter Benson are among the cast.
The Country Club tells of a woman who returns to her hometown after her marriage goes bad. She then becomes reacquainted with her old high school friends through a series of parties at her family's country club, stretching from New Year's to Christmas.
Nixon, of cable TV's "Sex and the City," has appeared in fully four Drama Dept. productions, including June Moon and Hope Is the Thing with Feathers. Comic actress Sedaris is half of the Talent Family, a company made up of she and her brother, humorist David Sedaris. Together, the have produced a string of irreverent comedies, including One Woman Shoe and The Little Frieda Mysteries. She rarely accepts gigs in non-Talent Family productions, though she was seen as the stage manager in Paul Rudnick's The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. Thorne is best known for her stint on TV's "Homicide."
The Drama Dept. most recently presented a double bill of Richard Greenberg's The Author's Voice and Peter Hedges' Imagining Brad, which ran this past May and June. Also in the company's future plans is a revival of George Kelley's The Torchbearers staged by Dylan Baker (an actor in La Bete and the recent Central Park Tartuffe). The troupe had planned to stage Daniel Goldfarb's Adam Baum and the Jew Movie, but the Blue Light Theatre Company will be doing that one instead. For tickets and information on The Country Club call (212) 239-6200.
-- By Robert Simonson & David Lefkowitz