Final cast negotiations appear to be underway for The Green Bird, Julie Taymor's Broadway version of the play written in the 18th century by Italian playwright Carlo Gozzi. Original cast members Didi Conn and Derek Smith are believed to be in negotiations to reprise their roles in Julie Taymor's production, which is headed for Broadway April 18 at the Cort Theatre.
Taymor's Green Bird, which is performed with puppets and half masks, follows a pair of orphaned twins, Renzo and Barbarina, who stumble upon fantastical characters like the singing apples and the dancing water while pursuing the mystical "green bird."
Green Bird debuted to critical acclaim at Off-Broadway's New Victory Theatre in spring 1996. That production played just 15 performances and garnered Derek Smith an OBIE award for acting. Also featured in that production of Green Bird were cast members Trellis Stepter, Andrew Weems, Didi Conn, Ned Eisenberg, Myriam Cyr, Sebastian Roche, Bruce Turk, Kristine Nielsen, Priscilla Shanks, Lee Lewis and Erico Villanueva.
Later, in the summer of 1996, Taymor's Green Bird enjoyed a four week run at California's La Jolla Playhouse.
As earlier reported, Taymor expected some of the cast in the upcoming production to be familiar to theatre patrons. "She's hoping to get together some of the cast from the earlier production," a production source said. While one news service has reported that Conn and Smith were already signed to reprise their roles, On Jan. 6, Didi Conn's agent said that while the deal was "in the process," a contract had yet to be signed and that more information might be available next week. Derek Smith's agency deferred any questions until his agent was able to return calls.
Taymor has described Bird as "thoroughly entertaining, but also having a wonderful grotesquery and poetry to it -- an edgy bawdiness.'' Taymor's frequent collaborator, composer Elliot Goldenthal once said, "it's not a full blown musical.'' Goldenthal later added that not only will the show "feature a lot of underscoring music -- sort of like carnival music on crack,'' but also "the kind that butts up against sophisticated and delicate sounds.''
This production of Green Bird will be Taymor's third on Broadway, aside from Lion King, her breakthrough collaboration with Goldenthal, and Juan Darien which was produced Off-Broadway before eventually opening at Lincoln Center Theater.