The production also marks a reunion for actors Marian Seldes and Brian Murray, and producers Elizabeth McCann and Daryl Roth—the gang that brought Off-Broadway The Play About the Baby in 2001.
Albee and Beckett have been linked since the start of Albee's career. Albee's first play, Zoo Story, was paired with Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape in Berlin in 1959, and then at the Provincetown Playhouse in 1960. Since then, Albee has been a steadfast fan and supporter of his Irish colleague, routinely praising Beckett and directing productions of his favorite playwright.
The new evening consists of a first act of Beckett's Not I, Footfalls and A Piece of Monologue and a second act of Albee's Counting the Ways (thus, the non-alphabetical title Beckett/Albee).
Seldes alone performs Not I and Footfalls, while Murray handles A Piece of Monologue. All three are among Beckett's numerous shorter works, many of which last just a few minutes and sometimes have very few words of text. Both actors perform in Albee's marriage play, Counting the Ways. Beckett/Albee is directed by Lawrence Sacharow.
Seldes' past Albee credits are significant. She won a Tony Award for the premiere of A Delicate Balance and starred in the American premiere of Three Tall Women. Beckett/Albee will have set and costume design by Catherine Zuber, lighting design by Michael Chybowski, and sound design by Mark Bennett and Ken Travis.
The project began with McCann and Sacharow's interest in producing Counting the Ways. While searching for a companion play, Sacharow saw Seldes perform Beckett's Rockaby at a benefit, and suggested the Irish-born playwright to McCann. The evening was born.
Beckett/Albee was to have begun previews Sept. 23, but delayed its beginning twice. The company used the two extra days to smooth out some technical difficulties.