Husband and wife acting team Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss will replace Alan Arkin and Elaine May in Power Plays, according to production spokesperson Andy Shearer (of Boneau/Bryan-Brown), reached Aug. 13. Arkin and Prentiss will begin performances Sept. 22, the first day of Autumn.
Last week, Variety first reported that the couple were in talks to take the roles. The trio of one-act plays opened May 21 at Off-Broadway's Promenade Theatre.
Benjamin made his mark in films of the late 1960's and early 1970's, particularly as an interpreter of Philip Roth's work in the films of Goodbye Columbus and Portnoy's Complaint. Other film roles include Catch 22, Deconstructing Harry and Love at First Bite. In recent years, he has turned to directing. On Broadway, he starred in 1966 in The Star Splangled Girl. Prentiss has starred in such films as In Harm's Way, What's New Pussycat? and The Parallax View.
As a duo, they starred in TV's "He and She" and on Broadway in Alan Ayckbourn's The Norman Conquests.
According to the Times, Power Plays came about when Arkin sent his one act, Virtual Reality, to producer Julian Schlossberg. May saw the reading and added her own play, The Way Of All Fish, to the evening. Later, she wrote the third piece, the farcical "Dr. Kastenbaum's End," now titled In and Out of the Light Or, Dr. Kessleman's End. The latter piece features Arkin as a dentist and May as his assistant. The last time the two worked together as actors was when they were both in different Chicago improv troupes in the 1950s. Also in the cast are May's daughter, Jeanne Berlin, an Academy Award nominee for her supporting role in The Heartbreak Kid, and Arkin's son, Anthony.
Arkin is best known for his film work (Catch 22, Simon) but his theatre credits include directing The Soft Touch in Boston in 1975 and Jules Feiffer's The White House Murder Case Off Broadway in 1970, as well as the original Sunshine Boys and Little Murders. Arkin junior has worked at NY's Miranda Theatre, Westbank Cafe and 42nd Street Collective. (Arkin's other son, Adam, is also a stage and television actor, best known for playing Dr. Shutt in "Chicago Hope." Arkin's other son, Matthew, is now on Broadway in The Sunshine Boys.) May's plays include Adaptation, Not Enough Rope and Mr. Gogol And Mr. Preen.
Designing Power Plays will be Michael McGarty (Master Class, Cakewalk) on sets; Michael Krass on costumes, Adam Silverman on lighting and Andrew S. Keister on sound.
For tickets ($47.50) and information on Power Plays at the Promenade Theatre, 2162 Broadway, call (212) 580-1313.