Sex, money and Hollywood -- themes that have driven dozens of plays, from Hurlyburly to The Road To Nirvana to Speed-the Plow to Four Dogs and a Bone to Mizlansky/Zilinksy. Now Craig Lucas takes his turn dissecting L.A. with The Dying Gaul, a drama about a struggling writer hoping he won't have to sell his soul to get his screenplay made into a movie. Mark Brokaw directs this world premiere at Off-Broadway's Vineyard Theatre, beginning previews Apr. 24 for an opening May 12.
Brokaw's been on a hot streak, what with How I Learned To Drive, a Vineyard staging still playing at the Century Theatre Center, and As Bees In Honey Drown, still running at the Lucille Lortel. Lucas' last play was the poorly received God's Heart, but his other works include Blue Window and Prelude To A Kiss.
Starring in Dying are Tim Hopper (More Stately Mansions, Picasso at the Lapin Agile), Robert Emmet Lunney (Dancing At Lughnasa), Cotter Smith (How I Learned To Drive) and Linda Emond (1776). Designing the show are Allen Moyer (set), Christopher Akerlind (lighting), Jess Goldstein (costumes) and David Van Tieghem (sound).
In addition to this mainstage production, the Vineyard season will also include two developmental lab productions: Dream True: My Life with Vernon Dexter and Creation of Humanoids. Dream True, due for a staged workshop in June, is a music-theatre piece chronicling the friendship of two young men over several decades in America. The project will reteam director/co-writer Tina Landau (Floyd Collins) with opera composer/songwriter Ricky Ian Gordon (The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Only Heaven); their most recent collaboration, Stonewall: Night Variations, was produced outdoors at Pier 25 in New York in 1994.
Creation is Laurence Klavan's stage adaptation of the film of the same name, set in a post-apocalyptic Manhattan where human-like robots and robot-like humans work and sleep together. This will be Klavan's first work produced at the Vineyard since contributing the book to Bed and Sofa. Expect Creation to be read at the Vineyard this season, followed by a lab or full staging the following season.
Now in its 16th season, the Vineyard is headed by artistic director Douglas Aibel, with Jon Nakagawa serving as managing director, and Barbara Zinn Krieger the organization's founder and executive director. For information on shows at the Vineyard Theatre, 108 East 15th St., call (212) 353-3874.
-- By David Lefkowitz