Dinner with Friends, arguably the biggest hit of the 1999-2000 Off Broadway season, may reach Chicago sometime soon. Producer Mitchell Maxwell, one of the producers of the Donald Margulies play, told Playbill On-Line he was in the last stages of purchasing Chicago's Royal George Theatre, a posh, 440-seat commercial presenting house just north of the downtown.
"We have an agreement to buy the Royal George," said Maxwell. "The deal should be completed within 30 days." The theatre is currently owned by the Reading Corporation.
Maxwell could not say for certain whether Dinner with Friends would be the first show he would bring to the Royal George, but he thought it likely the show would arrive in the house in the near future.
Recently at the Royal George was Northlight Theatre's production of Visiting Mr. Green, starring Mike Nussbaum.
* Kevin Kilner is leaving the original Off-Broadway cast of Donald Margulies' marital themed Dinner With Friends, at the Variety Arts, March 19, further breaking up the old gang that helped make the show an Off-Broadway smash.
Kilner was to have left one week earlier, on March 12, but extended his stay for a week. Jonathan Walker will step into Kilner's role March 21.
Dinner With Friends, opened Off-Broadway Nov. 4, 1999, with Matthew Arkin, Lisa Emery, Kilner and Julie White. White left the show after a few months and was replaced by Carolyn McCormick. Arkin and Emery remain with the show.
Margulies, the author of Collected Stories, cooked up a serious comedy drama about a dissolving marriage and the disillusioned friends left behind. Daniel Sullivan (The Heidi Chronicles, I'm Not Rappaport) directs.
The rueful comedy about divorce and unsure friendships, was previously seen at Actors Theatre of Louisville and (in a revised form) South Coast Repertory Theatre. In New York, the play has been embraced as intelligent, dry and grown-up.
Dinner With Friends is produced by Mitchell Maxwell, Mark Balsam, Ted Tulchin, Victoria Maxwell, Mari Nakachi and Steven Tulchin.
--By Robert Simonson
and Kenneth Jones