Happy Bloomsday everyone! June 16 may be the most famous date in literary history -- it's the day Leopold Bloom made his epic journey around Dublin in James Joyce's influential novel, Ulysses.
To commemorate the fictional event, every year famous performers gather at NY's Symphony Space to read excerpts from the Joyce novel. According to Amy Briskin, press representative for "Selected Shorts" and other literary events at Symphony Space, among the readers expected this year are such notables as Cherry Jones (Pride's Crossing), Fritz Weaver, Lois Smith (Buried Child), Mary Beth Hurt (Crimes of the Heart), Claire Bloom, Frank and Malachy McCourt (A Couple of Blackguards), Mia Dillon, Stephen Lang (Wait Until Dark), Barbara Feldon, Rita Moreno, Frances Sternhagen (Long Day's Journey Into Night), Maria Tucci (Filumena, James Naughton (Chicago) and son Greg Naughton, Keir Dullea, Cynthia Harris (TV's "Mad About You"), Paul Hecht, director Eleanor Reissa, Vinie Burrows (Having Our Say regionally), Charles Keating, Harris Yulin (The Diary of Anne Frank), KT Sullivan, Gordana Rashovich, George S. Irving, Jonathan Hadary (As Is), Peter Riegert (The Old Neighborhood), young actress Lillo Way, and Maia Danziger.
Joel Grey, Blair Brown and Lee Grant were scheduled to appear but are no longer on the bill.
NY radio station WNYC 820 AM, will carry the ceremony live, 7 PM to midnight. This year's "Bloomsday" event is again conceived and co-hosted by Isaiah Sheffer and Robert Fagles. The focus this year is on "Bloomsnight," covering Leo Bloom's amorous encounters. Parallels will be shown between the brothel scenes and the Circe and Hades books of "The Odyssey."
Broadway-philes have a special love for Bloom because Zero Mostel appeared on Broadway in the adaptation of a passage from the book, Ulysses In Nighttown, and later appeared in the Mel Brooks film, The Producers. His co-star, Gene Wilder, played a character named...Leo Bloom. For tickets ($10-$15) and information on Bloomsday at Symphony Space call the box office (after 1 PM) at (212) 864-5400.
--By David Lefkowitz