Despite Toronto Delay, Sutherland Enigma Still Due for Bway

News   Despite Toronto Delay, Sutherland Enigma Still Due for Bway Film commitments have prompted the postponement of the Toronto production of Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's Enigma Variations, which was to begin performances Sept. 14. Even so, Enigma should definitely reach Broadway in March 2000, a production spokesperson told Playbill On-Line. No specific theatre or schedule has been announced.

Film commitments have prompted the postponement of the Toronto production of Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's Enigma Variations, which was to begin performances Sept. 14. Even so, Enigma should definitely reach Broadway in March 2000, a production spokesperson told Playbill On-Line. No specific theatre or schedule has been announced.

Donald Sutherland postponed his opening in Enigma Variations in order to complete the movie he has been working on with Clint Eastwood. The Malpaso/Mad Chance Production, "Space Cowboys," was written by Ken Kaufman and Howard Klausner and also stars Tommy Lee Jones, James Cromwell and James Gardner. Production on the film began July 19 according to a Warner Bros. spokesperson.

Produced and directed by Eastwood, who also stars, "Space Cowboys" is about four aging test pilots whose nonconformity kept them out of the space program of the '60s. Today, the pilots' special knowledge, skills and independence make them valuable to NASA during a present-day crisis, especially if they can beat out younger candidates for the challenging job, which, as the title suggests, involves a certain amount of rigorous travel. Sutherland's film commitment was something the stage producers knew they must work around.

A production spokesperson at Mirvish Productions in Toronto confirmed that Sutherland will eventually perform in the Toronto production at the Royal Alexandra Theatre next year.

"Because of the movie we got bumped," the spokesperson told Playbill On Line. The spokesperson said Sutherland will perform in Enigma from Feb. 17-April 1. Because the rescheduled date falls within the current subscription year at the Royal Alexandra, subscribers are still expected to see the show as planned, only later in the season. No tickets for Enigma were sold to the general public, according to Mirvish's Toronto office. Mirvish also reports that it is using the postponement period to renovate the Royal Alexandra by recovering seats, painting, and refurbishing the theatre entrance with new crash doors.

As earlier reported by Playbill On-Line, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's Enigma Variations, is the two-hander psychological thriller that starred Donald Sutherland at the Mark Taper Forum last Spring.

Enigma will mark movie actor Sutherland's first Broadway appearance since acting in Edward Albee's ill-fated Lolita in 1981. Sutherland became a movie star following his portrayal of Hawkeye Pierce in the Robert Altman movie "M*A*S*H." He went on to become one of the leading film actors of the early '70s, delivering performances in such off beat films as "Klute," "Kelly's Heroes" and "Little Murders." In recent years, Sutherland has played memorable villains and supporting character roles, in film including "Backdraft," "JFK" and "A Time to Kill." He most recently played the coach in Robert Towne's "Without Limits." His son, Kiefer Sutherland has enjoyed a popular career as an actor and director.

Schmitt's Enigma focuses on a reclusive Nobel Prize-winning writer, Abel Znorko (Sutherland) who gives an interview to a small-town journalist, Erik Larsen (played by Jamie Sheridan at the Taper), which in turn leads to a life and-death battle of wits. The Taper show began previews April 24 and officially opened May 6 for a limited run through June 13 of this year.

-- By Murdoch McBride