Paul Benedict, original director of the Off-Broadway staging of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, will direct A.R. Gurney's Strictly Academic. The work will make its New York debut at Primary Stages' current space at 354 W. 45 St., Oct. 8-Nov. 30. Opening night is set for Oct. 21.
The playwright whose The Fourth Wall and O Jerusalem saw the stage last season — at Primary Stages and the Flea Theatre, respectively — returns with a new comedy. Set in the world of theatre, the play follows an artistic director who concocts a sadistic scheme to keep her audiences coming back. Benedict previously helmed Gurney's The Old Boy at San Diego’s Old Globe.
Next up, inaugurating the new 200-seat Primary Stages stage at 59 E. 59 St. is the world premiere of Terrence McNally's The Stendhal Syndrome. The new work, directed by Leonard Foglia — who helmed McNally's Master Class on Broadway — will run in January and February of 2004.
Stendhal combines the two plays: Full Frontal Nudity — about three American tourists who are urged by a guide to bask in the beauty of Michelangelo's "David" — and Prelude & Liebestod — which finds a celebrated conductor watching his life unravel right before his eyes as he leads Wagner's music.
Joe Calarco reteams with up-and-coming playwright Julia Jordan on her latest work Boy. The director also helmed Jordan's Summer of the Swans at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, as well as R&J — the four-man adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. The world premiere of Boy is slated to play at the 45 St. space, April-May, 2004. The drama focuses on two young men who are searching for their place in the world. The play received an honorable mention from the Susan Smith Blackburn Award committee in 2001.
Tickets to Strictly Academic go on sale Sept. 5 and can be purchased by calling (212) 333-4052. Subscriptions are currently available for the 2003-2004 Primary Stages season through www.primarystages.com.