Dinner With Friends Celebrates One Year in NYC Nov. 4; Boston Debut Same Day

News   Dinner With Friends Celebrates One Year in NYC Nov. 4; Boston Debut Same Day Donald Margulies' Pulitzer Prize-winning Dinner With Friends celebrates one year Off-Broadway at the Variety Arts Theatre Nov. 4, the same day the Boston company begins performances at the Wilbur Theatre, the Los Angeles company begins performance in Boston.
Matthew Arkin and John Dossett in Dinner With Friends.
Matthew Arkin and John Dossett in Dinner With Friends. (Photo by Photo by Joan Marcus)

Donald Margulies' Pulitzer Prize-winning Dinner With Friends celebrates one year Off-Broadway at the Variety Arts Theatre Nov. 4, the same day the Boston company begins performances at the Wilbur Theatre, the Los Angeles company begins performance in Boston.

The Beantown company was previously the Los Angeles company, having originated Oct. 4 at the Geffen Playhouse. Daniel Sullivan directed both stagings of the rueful comedy about marriage, divorce and friendship.

The New York company includes Matthew Arkin (as Gabe), John Dossett (as Tom), Sophie Hayden (as Karen) and Carolyn McCormick (as Beth). The Boston company (at the Wilbur to Nov. 19) includes Dana Delany (as Beth) Kevin Kilner (as Tom, which he created in New York), Daniel Stern (as Gabe) and Rita Wilson (as Karen).

Karen and Gabe are married food writers who question their marriage and their middle-age comfort when their best friends divorce.

Designers for both stagings are Neil Patel (set), Jess Goldstein (costumes) and Rui Rita (lighting), providing an upper-middle class milieu. The Geffen-Boston production is produced in association with the New York producers.

Delany (TV's "China Beach") playing unsure Beth in L.A. and Beantown is a switch from her playing the more stolid Karen in the Manhattan staging over the summer.

Margulies' rueful comedy shows the shifting loyalties and values of two couples as one couple goes through a divorce, all in the context of middle age malaise.

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New York producer Mark Balsam previously told Playbill On Line that other options are being mulled for Dinner to appear on other regional plates (such as Chicago), in the form of either a tour or in sitdown commercial productions within the next year. An HBO TV film version is also being developed.

Pre-Pulitzer, the play was seen at Actors Theatre of Louisville and (in a revised form) South Coast Repertory Theatre. The world premiere was part of the 1998 Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre in Kentucky. The revised version was staged by Sullivan at South Coast Rep in Costa Mesa, CA, in October 1998.

The New York producers of Dinner With Friends are Mitchell Maxwell, Mark Balsam, Ted Tulchin, Victoria Maxwell, Mari Nakachi and Steven Tulchin. Producing director of the Geffen is Gilbert Cates.

For Boston ticket information, call (617) 931-2787. For New York ticket information, call (212) 239-6200.

— By Kenneth Jones