It's now official. As first reported on Playbill On-Line, the hit Goodman Theatre production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, starring Brain Dennehy and Elizabeth Franz, will transfer to Broadway this winter. The play will begin previews Jan. 22 and open Feb. 10, 1999 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. It is unclear at this point whether the engagement is an open or limited run.
Good news for Salesman is bad news for The Weir. Jujamcyn Theatre had promised the O'Neill to the producers of the Conor McPherson play. Now The Weir is looking for a new home. Production spokesperson Helene Davis said the producers still plan to open the show in April 1999 and are searching for a theatre.
That elusive theatre may be the Walter Kerr, currently the home of The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Jujamcyn Theatre President Rocco Landesman told Playbill On-Line (Nov. 9) Beauty Queen may close on Apr. 4, 1999, to make way for The Weir. Beauty Queen has been doing good business since it opened on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre on Apr. 23, 1998. (The show grossed $229,114 and sold 68.1 percent of the house for the week ending Nov. 1, 1998.) But now that Jujamcyn has committed to Salesman, the play's days may be numbered.
"We're talking about closing the Beauty Queen of Leenane on Apr. 4, ," said Landesman. "Anna Manahan can't do it past Apr. 4, and it's felt that she's very important to the show."
Come Jan. 3, 1999, Manahan will be the only member of the original Irish cast in the production. Brian F. O'Byrne, Tom Murphy and Marie Mullen (the last two, Tony winners) will be traveling back to their native Ireland, as per an agreement with Actors Equity. Equity initially allowed Leenane to keep its Irish cast for 26 weeks, starting from its Broadway transfer. An American cast would have had to replace the performers in mid-October, but the producers and the union worked out an extension through New Year's. The Weir, directed by Royal Court Theatre Artistic Director Ian Rickson (Mojo ), returned three times to London's Duke Of York before setting a final closing date for Jan. 23, 1999. The most recent return began previews Oct. 8 with an opening Oct. 12.