The Drama Dept.'s Off-Broadway production of playwright Douglas Carter Beane's new comedy, The Country Club, looks to be the troupe's biggest hit since, well, its last Beane play, As Bees in Honey Drown. Club, which previously moved its closing date from Oct. 9 to Nov. 6, has now extended its stay until Dec. 18. The comedy began previews Sept. 14 at the Greenwich House Theatre and officially opened Sept 29.
The extension coincides with a couple of cast changes. Frederick Weller, who played the drunken party boy Hutch, left the cast last week to accept a film role. Drama Dept. ensemble member T. Scott Cunningham (Fit to Be Tied, New England) has been playing the role since last weekend.
Also, Amy Sedaris, who appears as the repressed, repressing, serial party thrower Froggy, will depart later this month. Beginning Oct. 25, Jessica Stone will fill her shoes.
Beane had his first critical and commercial success when the Drama Dept. -- the theatre troupe he helped found and oversees as artistic director -- staged his Manhattan comedy, As Bees in Honey Drown. Christopher Ashley, a company member since piloting As Thousands Cheer, will direct Club. Cynthia Nixon heads the cast, which also features Amy Hohn, Tom Everett Scott, Callie Thorne Weller and Peter Benson.
The Country Club tells of a woman who returns to her hometown after her marriage goes bad. She then becomes reacquainted with her old high school friends through a series of parties at her family's country club, stretching from New Year's to Christmas. Nixon, of cable TV's "Sex and the City," has appeared in fully four Drama Dept. productions, including June Moon and Hope Is the Thing with Feathers. Comic actress Sedaris is half of the Talent Family, a company made up of she and her brother, humorist David Sedaris. Together, the have produced a string of hilarious, irreverent plays, including One Woman Shoe and The Little Freida Mysteries. She rarely accepts gigs in non-Talent Family productions, though she was seen as the stage manager in Paul Rudnick's The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.
Hohn, a company member, appeared in June Moon. Benson was seen in Broadway's Little Me.
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-- By Robert Simonson