Northlight Theatre in Skokie, IL, has canceled its plans for a September-October production of Donald Margulies' Dinner with Friends due to a possible commercial production that may play Chicagoland.
The not-for-profit company will return to its originally announced season-opener, An Experiment With an Air Pump. The troupe landed the coup of the Pulitzer Prize winning Dinner With Friends after it had announced its 2000-2001 season, and altered the lineup its season to accommodate it (moving Experiment to later in the season and dropping Bee-Luther-Hatchee, which has now been re-installed for January-March).
Managing director Richard Friedman said, "a potential commercial production of Dinner with Friends may be in the offing which has preempted our plans for a not-for-profit production here at Northlight."
Dinner With Friends producer Mitchell Maxwell and his producing partners, of New York City, have not yet announced plans for commercial sitdowns or tours of the embraced play. Producing partner Mark Balsam told Playbill On-Line July 27 that several options are being mulled for Chicago, including a possible tour visit or a sitdown commercial production.
Shelagh Stephenson's Experiment will plays Northlight Sept. 27-Nov. 5. Bee-Luther-Hatchee, a contemporary African-American drama about the limits of artistic license by Thomas Gibbons, will play Jan. 31-March 11, 2001. Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California has announced Dinner With Friends, to be directed by Richard Seyd, for Nov. 10-Jan. 5, 2001.
Margulies' play is also being adapted for an HBO TV film version. The rueful comedy shows the shifting loyalties and values of two couples as one couple goes through a divorce, and all face middle-age malaise.
The Off-Broadway staging at the Variety Arts Theatre has been one of the great success stories in recent seasons.
-- By Kenneth Jones