With Faye Dunaway's performance as Maria Callas in the Master Class national tour opening to wide acclaim Nov. 4, speculation arose that she might be coming to Broadway in the role when Patti LuPone leaves sometime next year. Jim Randolph, spokesperson for the New York and touring productions, dismissed that theory because Dunaway's touring commitments with Master Class are set to book through Nov. 23, 1997.
Though no dates have been set after the 8-week Wilbur Theatre engagement in Boston (Dayton or Philadelphia are prime candidates for the next stop), definite cities on the tour include L.A., Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington DC. After that, Dunaway will appear in the film version of Master Class, which she is co-producing with the owner of the film rights, Jon B. Platt.
Patti LuPone, whose contract in the Broadway production would have ended this month, is already committed to Master Class through the end of January 1997, "and we think she'll stay on a while after that" Randolph said. The big news is that once she ends her New York tenure, LuPone will bring Master Class to London, in a mounting produced by Robert Fox. The Fox office, however, could not confirm dates (though they hinted at spring 1997) or the West End theatre, since actors' contracts have not yet been inked.
Starring with Dunaway on tour are Kevin Paul Anderson, Gary Green, Suzan Hanson (in the Audra MacDonald role) and Melinda Klump. Dunaway, who has appeared on Broadway in, among others, A Man for All Seasons and After The Fall was also rumored for a role in Harold Pinter's new play, Ashes to Ashes, which early speculation touted for an Off-Broadway debut -- directed by Pinter himself -- at the Laura Pels Theatre in early 1998. "Everything's in the talking stage and it's way too early to speculate," spokesperson Erin Dunn told Playbill On-Line.
Howard Watson, publisher of the London Theatre Guide, told Playbill On-Line he wouldn't be surprised if the play eventually shows up in New York, but not in any kind of major production. "The show finished its run at the Royal Court," Watson said of the Lindsay Duncan and Stephen Rea two hander. "Reviews were mixed, and the play is only sixty minutes long. I can't see it playing a Broadway house or even a large Off-Broadway house, it's a very small piece." If Faye Dunaway does come to Broadway, in either Master Class or Ashes, it would be a coup for her, since her last brush with the Great White Way came when Andrew Lloyd Webber dropped her from New York consideration for Sunset Boulevard for not singing well enough in the L.A. production. The irony is that Patti LuPone also got snubbed by Webber, when he bought out her contract instead of letting her debut the show in America. That Madonna is now playing Webber's Evita on screens across the U.S. must also rankle LuPone, since her performance in the Broadway premiere of that show is now generally considered legendary.
---- By David Lefkowitz