In another indicator that things are returning somewhat back to normal in New York and New York Theatre, Off-Broadway's De La Guarda, one of the shows that cut back its weekly number of performances following the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack, is now going back to its full, eight-times-a-week schedule.
According to a spokesperson at the Karpel Group, the weekly playing schedule returns to Tues-Fri 8 PM, Fri 10:30 PM, Sat 7 and 10 PM; Sun 7 PM. The show plays at the Daryl Roth Theatre on East 15th Street. Oct. 23 also marks the date that The Syringa Tree resumes performances, with Tony n' Tina's Wedding waiting one more week to come back, Nov. 1.
Three days before Off-Broadway's De La Guarda reached its third anniversary, the aerial, physical and fantastical show added a new segment that's being advertised as "Higher, Louder, Wetter."
According to a production spokesperson, the six-minute bit ends the evening with "a very new, high-flying segment" with "new music, new lights, new thrills for the audience." The rest of the show has remained the same, with no sequences deleted to make room for the addition. De La Guarda turned three years old at the Daryl Roth Theatre June 16. The performance piece, created in Argentina, started previews June 11, 1998, and, more than 1,300 performances later, remains a draw for hip downtown crowds who don't mind being lifted into the air, splashed with water and being generally made part of the overall spectacle.
The show has certainly meant beginner's luck for its home, Off-Broadway being the first and still-only production to be done there. Producer Roth announced her plans to convert the landmarked American Savings Bank at 20 Union Square East into a 499-seat, Off-Broadway theatre in fall 1997. But she halted construction when she was approached by the producers of De La Guarda, who were searching for a space wherein the unique show could unfold. The empty, spacious bank seemed just right.
Roth said at the time that the theatre is currently little more than a large, open area, measuring 50 by 100 feet, bordered by large windows, and with a marble floor underfoot. There are no fixed seats, but that's no problem. The audience for Guarda is required to stand while they watch the performers lower themselves down by rope and cable. Performances take place entirely in the air. There is music, but no words. Roth described the piece's nature as being along the lines of the Cirque du Soleil, Stomp, and Blue Man Group. Up to 499 people can attend the show each night. Meanwhile, the venue also boasts a 99-eat space "Little Theatre."
Producer Roth also produced Jane Anderson's Defying Gravity at The American Place Theatre, as well as How I Learned to Drive, Old Wicked Songs, and Three Tall Women. She's on the producing team for the upcoming Broadway mounting of Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?.
For tickets ($20-$50) and information on De La Guarda, call (212) 239-6200.
— By David Lefkowitz