Coming off an auspicious season that saw its lauded production of How I Learned to Drive go on to a successful commercial transfer, Off-Broadway's Vineyard Theatre has a high profile slate of productions in 1998. The company recently offered the New York premiere of Joan Ackermann's The Batting Cage, with Veanne Cox.
Next up, through March 15, is the world premiere of Nicky Silver's The Maiden's Prayer, a comedy-drama about two lifelong friends and two sisters dealing with sex, marriage, loss and love.
The Maiden's Prayer is directed by Evan Yionoulis, whose warmly received work on the music-theatre piece, You Don't Miss the Water, was produced at the Vineyard in June.
Starring in Prayer are Patricia Clarkson, just out of Three Days Of Rain, Christopher Fuller, Daniel Jenkins (Big, Big River), Geoffrey Nauffts, and Joanna Going (The Principality Of Sorrows, Misalliance, The Flowering Peach). Designing the show are Derek McLane (set), Jess Goldstein (costumes), Donald Holder (lighting) and Mike Yionoulis (sound).
The play, opening Feb. 22, marks Silver's "official" return to the venue that presented Pterodactyls (Oct. 93) and Raised in Captivity (Feb. 95) in back-to-back productions that established the playwright as a fresh voice in American theatre. After a hit commercial production of The Food Chain and an extended run of Fit to Be Tied at Playwrights Horizons, the Vineyard hosted a two-week lab production (Ie. closed to critics) of Silver's My Marriage to Ernest Borgnine in late April. *
After Maiden's Prayer, the New York Times reports the Vineyard will mount Craig Lucas' next play, The Dying Gaul, about a struggling writer tempted by Hollywood money. Mark How I Learned To Drive Brokaw directs, beginning April 22. Lucas' last play was the poorly received God's Heart, but his other works include Blue Window and Prelude To A Kiss.
In addition to these mainstage productions, the Vineyard season will also include two developmental lab productions: Dream True: My Life with Vernon Dexter and Creation of Humanoids.
Dream True is a music-theatre piece chronicling the friendship of two young men over several decades in America. The project will reteam director/co-writer Tina Landau (Floyd Collins) with opera composer/songwriter Ricky Ian Gordon (The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Only Heaven); their most recent collaboration, Stonewall: Night Variations, was produced outdoors at Pier 25 in New York in 1994.
Creation is Laurence Klavan's stage adaptation of the film of the same name, set in a post-apocalyptic Manhattan where human-like robots and robot-like humans work and sleep together. The play will be Klavan's first work produced at the Vineyard since contributing the book to Bed and Sofa.
For subscriptions ($60) or memberships ($25, allowing you to buy one $10 ticket for each performance) to the Vineyard Theatre, call (212) 353 3874.