Fall, a coming-of-age play about a young girl's first swing and sexual steps, may reach Off Broadway in late winter. Producer Mark Balsam (Bells Are Ringing, Summer of `42) told Playbill On-Line a commercial production of Bridget Carpenter's comedy-drama may go into Primary Stages in February 2002. If all goes well, a commercial production at a larger Off-Broadway space would follow.
Fall was first staged at RI's Trinity Rep and then at Baltimore's Center Stage at the end of 2000. Berkeley Rep, which co-produced with Center Stage, then mounted the play in January of this year. Obie-winner Lisa Peterson (Collected Stories, Slavs!) directed that co production, though it's not certain she'll remain with the project.
In Fall, 14-year-old scuba aficionado Lydia finds herself forced to attend a Catalina swing camp with her dance-obsessed "freak" parents, Dog (short for Doug) and Jill. But the teenager just discovering her hormones will learn more than the Lindy when she's faced with lessons about love, life and family. During the play, Lydia is shadowed by two dancer characters, Lead and Follow, who mirror her emotional state with their moves.
Carpenter's other plays include The Death of the Father of Psychoanalysis (& Anna), Mr. Xmas, West, Typhoid Mary and Tiny. She received the 1999-2000 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for Fall.
For the Baltimore mounting, Megan Austin Oberle starred as Lydia with Nancy Bell as Jill and Andy Murray as Dog. Also in the cast were Donnie Keshwarz (Gopal), Thomas Christopher Nieto (Mr. Gonzales), Chad Kubo (Lead) and Niloufar Talebi (Follow). Designing the show were The Scarlet Pimpernel's Andrew Jackness (sets), Tony winner Ann Hould Ward (costumes), Soctt Zielinski (lighting) and John Gromada (composer/sound designer). Gromada composed for Proof, A Few Good Men and Summer & Smoke on Broadway. Peter Pucci created the swing and scuba choreography. The director of Pucci Plus Dancers, he has created movement at the Manhattan Theatre Club and the Shakespeare Theatre. Opening the next Primary Stages season will be An Immaculate Misconception by Carl Djerassi. A production spokesperson at Jeffrey Richards Associates told Playbill On-Line that the author is "a world renowned scientist who invented the birth control pill." Djerassi's autobiographical book, "This Man's Pill," is due for publication via Oxford University Press about the same time as the show goes up in New York.
As for the remainder of this season, Bruce J. Robinson's Byrd's Boy, directed by Arthur Masella, begins performances May 30 for an opening June 11 and a run through July 1.
David McCallum, a newly ubiquitous presence on Manhattan stages, plays Byrd, a brilliant but deranged homeless man who may be the son of Admiral Byrd. Myra Lucretia Taylor co-stars in the two-hander as a night watch-woman who has her own headaches to deal with.
Best known for his years as "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," McCallum has taken to New York theatre in a big way recently, starting with a supporting role in Nasty Little Secrets at Primary Stages two seasons back. Since then, he's appeared in Communicating Doors, a Broadway revival of Amadeus, a Central Park Julius Caesar (as Caesar), and MTC's musical Time and Again.
Actress Taylor appeared in Macbeth and Electra on Broadway and The American Clock at OB's Signature Theatre.
Helping Byrd's Boy take wing are designers Peter West (lighting), Donal Nicola (music & sound) and Candide Tony-winner Judith Dolan (costumes).
For tickets and information on Byrd's Boy at Primary Stages, 354 West 45th St., call (212) 333-4052.
- By David Lefkowitz
and Christine Ehren