Theatre veteran Theodore Bikel's return to the New York stage in the Jewish Repertory Theatre's production of Arje Shaw's The Gathering has certainly been a popular one. The show began previews May 29, opened June 10 and was recently extended into an open run. Most shows at Jewish Rep run three to six weeks.
Now the producers will find out if the show itself has staying power; though Bikel will end his term with the production Aug. 29, the play will continue its open run. New cast member Ben Hammer will take over as the family patriarch at the center of The Gathering. Shaw's drama takes place during the Reagan years and concerns three generations of the same family as they clash over their duties as Americans. Continuing in the cast are Robert Fass, Adam Rose, Susan Warrick Hasho and Peter Hermann. Rebecca Taylor directs.
Bikel is perhaps most famous for his Tony-nominated appearance as Captain Von Trapp in the original production of The Sound of Music. He is also well known for his many turns as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. Other Broadway credits include The Lark, The Rope Dancers and The Inspector General. Recently, he acted in The Disputation at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Florida. His films include "The Defiant Ones" and "The African Queen." On the other side of the footlights, Bikel was recently reelected president of the umbrella organization, Associated Actors and Artistes of America, a union nicknamed "The Four As."
Hammer's credits include Scenes From an Execution at the Mark Taper Forum in 1993.
For information on The Gathering, call (212) 239-6200.