The Herbal Bed, Peter Whelan's drama about the adultery trial of Shakespeare's daughter, opened on Broadway Apr. 16 but did not receive the acclaim of its London mounting a year ago. It will close after the Sunday Apr. 26 matinee, after 21 previews and 13 regular performances.
News had leaked about the closing Apr. 20, but the producers held off on an official announcement until this morning, according to production spokesperson David Rothenberg, in the hopes that "the ads would pull."
Herbal Bed stars Laila Robins as Susanna Hall, daughter of William Shakespeare. Her previous roles include The Real Thing, A Streetcar Named Desire last season in Chicago, and Mrs. Klein Off-Broadway.
Simon Jones (Private Lives, Off-Broadway's Privates On Parade) also stars as the Vicar who conducts the trial, alongside Amelia Campbell (Steve Martin's Wasp at NYSF), Trent Dawson, Tuck Milligan and Herb Foster (Sacrilege). Zena Grey and Annie Rinsky take turns playing Susanna's young daughter. (The Bard himself does not appear in the play.)
Designing the show are Alvin Colt (costumes), David Jenkins (set) and Howell Binkley (lighting). Author Whelan's unusual drama about Shakespeare's daughter -- and the real-life court case in which she was accused of adultery with a neighbor -- transferred from a sold-out run in London's RSC Pit to the West End in April 1997 (where it ran for six months).
Michael Attenborough, an associate director at the RSC who directed the London productions, also directs the Broadway production. Other plays by author Whelan, an Honorary Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, include Worlds Apart (1987) and The School Of The Night (1993).
Featured in the London mounting were Teresa Banham (as Susanna), Olivier-nominated supporting actor Stephen Boxer, Raymond Bowers, Robin Weaver, Lorcan Cranitch, Richard Hawley and Barnaby Kay.
Producing Herbal Bed for Broadway are Alexander H. Cohen, Max Cooper, Anne Strickland Squadron and Chase Mishkin, in association with Duncan Weldon.
Tickets to The Herbal Bed at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre can be ordered through Tele-Charge, (212) 239-6200.