Marian Seldes and Brian Murray head a New England brood in the world premiere of Theresa Rebeck's The Butterfly Collection, opening Oct. 3 as the season-opener of Playwrights Horizons in Manhattan.
Bartlett Sher (artistic director of Seattle's Intiman Theatre, Off Broadway's Waste) directs Seldes (A Delicate Balance, Three Tall Women), Murray (The Little Foxes, Uncle Vanya), Reed Birney, Betsy Aidem, James Colby and Maggie Lacey in the new work, one of three announced world premieres in the Horizons season. Previews at Horizons' Anne G. Wilder Theater on 42nd Street began Sept. 8. Performances continue to Oct. 15.
In The Butterfly Collection, a young writer, Sophie (played by Lacey, making her Off-Broadway debut) takes a job as a personal assistant in the gorgeous New England home of a celebrated Nobel Prize-winning novelist (Murray) who is having trouble finishing his latest work (years in the making) and is threatened by his publisher with having to return his $300,000 advance. The home turns into a hornet's nest when his sons (Birney and Colby), an actor and an antiques dealer, respectively, come home for a summer visit. Fueled by bitterness and jealousy toward his father, the actor son attempts to seduce Sophie, but Dad has plans of his own. The writer's wife (Seldes) and a son's girlfriend (Aidem), meanwhile, attempt to make things better.
* Rebeck won a Peabody Award for her teleplays for "NYPD Blue." Her plays include Sunday on the Rocks, Spike Heels, A View of the Dome, Loose Knit and Abstract Expression. She is working on a musical melodrama adaptation of The Two Orphans.
Also in the Playwrights Horizons 2000-2001 mainstage season:
• The Wax, a world premiere by Kathleen Tolan, begins previews Dec. 12 (bumped from an announced date of Nov. 24), opens Jan. 7, 2001 (instead of Dec. 19). Brian Kulick directs. "Who knows what will happen at an out-of town wedding? In a hotel by the sea, a bevy of soul searching writers and scientists find themselves in full midlife existential crisis, and in a bedroom farce, to boot. Lust and love, passion and poetry collide in this hilarious roll on the middle aged hay."
• Lobby Hero, a new play, by Kenneth Lonergan, directed by Mark Brokaw, begins previews Feb. 16, 2001, opens March 13 and continues to March 25. "In the lobby of an urban apartment complex, in the aftermath of a brutal murder, four disparate souls — two young cops, a restless security guard and his tightly wound supervisor — are forced to confront the truth about themselves, their relationships and the city they call home."
• A Play or Musical to be announced, begins previews May 4, 2001, opens May 29 and continues to June 10.
The 141-seat Off-Broadway nonprofit, committed to shepherding playwrights and new works since 1971, will also offer two plays in its smaller studio space on 42nd Street. Christopher Shinn's Other People plays the Studio Oct. 12-Nov. 5. A second play will be announced.
Tim Sanford is artistic director of Playwrights Horizons.
Tickets to mainstage show are $40. The Anne G. Wilder Theater is at 416 W. 42nd Street. For information about Playwrights Horizons, check out the web site at www.playwrightshorizons.org, or call (212) 279-4200.
— By Kenneth Jones