The New York premiere of Rebecca Gilman's play about a woman being stalked, provocatively titled Boy Gets Girl, opens Feb. 20 at Manhattan Theatre Club's Stage I.
Following the untimely death of the staging's original director, Michael Maggio, MTC artistic director Lynne Meadow is supervising the production, made up of the same company seen in Maggio's world premiere at Chicago's Goodman Theatre in March-April 2000. MTC previews began Jan. 30.
Set in Manhattan, the drama centers on a female feature journalist, who works at a "New York" style magazine. Driven and no-nonsense, with little time for social life, she makes the mistake of going on a blind date with a friend of a friend. The mild-mannered computer programmer she's set up with appears innocuous enough at first, but after she calls it off after two dates, he continues to call and send flowers with alarming frequency. Soon, his attentions turn violent and Gilman's protagonist is forced to abandon her life as she knows it and reexamine her relationship with every man she knows.
Director Maggio died Aug. 19, 2000, of complications from post-transplant lymphoma after surviving a 1991 bilateral lung transplant. The MTC production is "in association with" the Goodman. The onetime Goodman company at MTC includes David Adkins, Matt DeCaro, Shayna Ferm, Mary Beth Fisher (as the journalist), Ora Jones, Ian Lithgow (as the stalker) and Howard Witt (a Tony Award nominee for Robert Falls' Goodman and later Broadway staging of Death of a Salesman, who here plays a Russ Meyer-like B-movie director).
Designers are Michael Philippi (sets), Nan Cibula Jenkins (costumes), John Culbert (lighting), Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen (sound and original music).
Critics embraced Boy Gets Girl at the Goodman in 2000. MTC calls it "a frightening glimpse into what can lie in wait for those searching for love in the city." Playwright Gilman penned the provocative race-relations play, Spinning Into Butter, which won a Jeff Award for Best New Work in Chicago and later played Lincoln Center Theatre.
Maggio was associate artistic director at the Goodman Theatre and dean of The Theatre School at DePaul University. He was a frequent collaborator with playwright Keith Reddin and worked at major Chicago resident theatre, winning awards throughout his career. In addition to Boy Gets Girl for MTC, he was set to direct the world premiere of Gilman's The Great Baseball Strike of '94 at the Goodman's new theatre in Chicago in 2001. That play has since been replaced by another Gilman work, Blue Surge.
Maggio was one of the three men — including director Frank Galati and Goodman artistic director Robert Falls — who brought The Goodman into prominence. He was named associate artistic director there in 1987.
Meadow has been MTC artistic director since 1972, where she has directed and produced over 125 New York and world premieres. Her current hot credit is Broadway's The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, by Charles Busch. She also staged Leslie Ayvazian's Nine Armenians, Donald Margulies' The Loman Family Picnic, Alan Ayckbourn's Woman in Mind and the Broadway production of his A Small Family Business.
Boy Gets Girl tickets are $55. MTC operates two spaces at City Center, 131 W. 55th Street, in Manhattan. For information, call (212) 581 1212, or click here.
— By Kenneth Jones