Last November, Douglas Carter Beane, artistic director of Off Broadway's Drama Dept., directed a one-day reading of Free to Be You and Me, a production based on the cult album of the same name. That occasion apparently went well enough to lead to three more performances, Feb. 18, 25 and March 4.
Now, Beane and company have taken the next step and launched Free to Be as a full production. Beane directs. The show began performances on May 23 at the Greenwich House Theater. It's official opening in June 13 for a run through June 30. Robert Ari, Keith Nobbs, Debbie Gravitte and Daphne Rubin-Vega will star.
Ari was previously seen in Drama Dept.'s June Moon, while Nobbs acted in the company's hope is the thing with feathers. Rubin-Vega and Gravitte are Drama Dept. virgins.
* The running order of the Nov. 26 evening went as follows (according to the DD website):
- Marlo Thomas Intro — performed by Jackie Hoffman & Mary Testa
- "Free To Be You and Me" — performed by Jackie Hoffman & Mary Testa
- "Boy Meets Girl" — Kevin Chamberlin
- "When We Grow Up" — performed by Karen Ziemba
- "Don't Dress Your Cat in an Apron" — performed by Isaac Mizrahi
- "Parents are People"
- "Housework"— Ana Gasteyer
- "Helping" — performed by Robert Ari Ari
- "Ladies First" — performed by Cynthia Nixon
- "Girl Land" — performed by Mary Beth Peil
- "Dudley Pippen and the Principal"
- "It's Alright to Cry"
- "My Dog is a Plumber "— performed by Chip Kidd
- "What are Little Boys Made Of"
- "Hooray for Babies"
- "The South Paw"
- "William's Doll" — performed by B.D. Wong
- "Sisters and Brothers" — performed by Mary Bond Davis
- "Dudley Pippen and His No-Friend"
- "Glad to Have a Friend Like You" — performed by Mary Bond Davis, Jackie Hoffman & Mary Testa
Drama Dept.'s next show will be The Dark Kalamazoo, written and starring Oni Faida Lampley, in September 2002.
—By Robert Simonson