After writing the hit Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Steve Martin is ready to return to the stage with an adaption of Carl Sternheim's edgy, door-slamming farce The Underpants. Before he faces the critics on April 4, however, Classic Stage Company will fete the star in style at an April Fool's Day gala.
Film and theatre star Kevin Kline (who co-starred with Martin in "Grand Canyon") will host the April 1 event at the W Hotel with playwright Wendy Wasserstein. An Evening Honoring Steve Martin benefits Classic Stage Company.
Martin, who made it big as a comedian with the album "Let's Get Small" and has been a movie star since "The Jerk" (followed by such pics as "The Man with Two Brains," "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," "Father of the Bride" and "Pennies From Heaven") made theatrical waves in the 1990s with his comedy Picasso at the Lapin Agile, some one acts. The past couple of years have seen him return to Hollywood and concentrate on films, his art collection and numerous comic essays for the New Yorker, as well as a novella, "Shopgirl."
For reservations, call (212) 677-4210. The W Hotel is located at 17th Street and 4th Avenue.
* The Underpants tells of a man who's mortally embarrassed when his wife's undies fall down during the procession of the King. Two gentlemen notice her predicament — and become immediately smitten with her. CSC artistic director Barry Edelstein will direct The Underpants, running March 20-April 28 at CSC (officially opening April 4).
Playwright Sternheim was born in 1878 in Leipzig. After studying philosophy he co-founded "Hyperion" literary magazine and went on to write such plays as The Cassette and The Snob. After encountering moral outrage over some of his writing, Sternheim moved to Brussels and lived there until his death in 1942.
Designing The Underpants are Scott Pask (set), Angela Wendt (costumes), Elizabeth Rhodes (sound) and Russell H. Champa (lighting).
For tickets and information on The Underpants at CSC, 136 East 13th St., call (212) 677-4210, ext. 2.
— By Christine Ehren