A new, 2-character play from playwright Chris Van Strander, Daniel Pelican, previews Nov. 4 aboard the Frying Pan, a boat docked at (Chelsea) Pier 63 in New York City. Based on the story of British businessman Donald Crowhurst, Daniel Pelican opens Nov. 6 and is scheduled to run through Nov. 20.
Pelican stars playwright Van Strander as an American man whose story is based on Crowhurst -- a real-life British businessman who entered the London Sunday Times "Around the World" boat race in 1968 in an effort to revitalize his image. Crowhurst went on to mislead the racing committee and doomed himself altogether by giving fake coordinates of his location before going mad and jumping overboard. His body was never found. Some consider Crowhurst's story one of the great hoaxes of the century.
Directed by Tor Ekeland, Daniel Pelican performances take place on a boat, the Frying Pan. Van Strander described his reasons for setting his play in the 1920s in a prepared statement.
"Press interest in heroic and sordid tales was at its height [then]," Van Strander said. "With the radio boom, millions of Americans were glued nightly to their radio sets. An air of adventure, recklessness, and ambition prevailed. What a perfect atmosphere to produce this man and this story."
Chris Van Strander began his professional career in television acting on "Kate and Allie," and appeared on Broadway in 1993 in the revival of Camelot starring Robert Goulet. Also starring in the two-character play as Daniel's wife will be Natalie Burgess. Daniel Pelican will begin previews Nov. 4 for a Nov. 6 opening and play through Nov. 20. Performances are Thur. - Sat. at 8 PM. For information and reservations, please call (718) 388-7834 or visit www.brettsinger.com.
-- By Murdoch McBride