Adult Entertainment will open at Off-Broadway's Variety Arts Theatre Dec. 9, a few days later than originally announced.
The title is provocative, but don't call the mayor's office just yet: Although the work sounds like it promises pure porn (and the eye-catching print ads show a woman's backside covered by short-shorts), the new comedy is by respected satirist Elaine May. Previews begin Nov. 16, as scheduled, but the opening was bumped from Dec. 2 to Dec. 9. The play continues performances at the Stamford Center for the Arts in Connecticut to Nov. 10 (it began there Nov. 2), and, as with any new play, some tinkering is expected in the meantime.
Danny Aiello and Jeannie Berlin star in the new play by May, famed for her sketch comedy and screenplays to "The Birdcage" and "Heaven Can Wait." Film legend Stanley Donen ("Singin' in the Rain") directs Adult Entertainment.
May's comedy, which insiders call a satire with heart, is billed as being about "the good men and women of the porn industry." According to production notes, "Adult Entertainment is about six members of the porn industry who, tired of working for others, decide to make their own film." The play is presented by Julian Schlossberg, Roy Furman and Ben Sprecher, who teamed on last season's Fortune's Fool on Broadway. Their producing partners include Jim Fantaci, William D. Rollnick, Nancy Ellison, Ted Lachowicz and Aaron Levy.
Jeannie Berlin, a respected actress and director, is May's daughter and appeared in "The Heartbreak Kid" and Off Broadway's Power Plays. Aiello has distinguished himself in such films as "Do the Right Thing," Moonstruck" and "Radio Days."
The cast also includes Mary Birdsong (a regular on "The Daily Show"), Brandon Demery, Eric Elice and Linda Halaska.
Designers are Neil Patel (set), Suzy Benzinger (costumes), Phil Monat (lighting) and T. Richard Fitzgerald (sound).
Donen is renowned for the pictures he co-directed for M G-M, including "On the Town" and "Singin' in the Rain," in the golden days of the 1950s color movie-musical. He directed the Broadway musical, The Red Shoes, in 1993.
Elaine May's last New York play was the short-lived Taller Than a Dwarf, starring Matthew Broderick in 2001 (Schlossberg produced). Her career began as an actress in The Second City, where she formed a partnership with Mike Nichols. The pair appeared in clubs, on TV and on Broadway. She would later become a screenwriter and film director, and continue acting. Her screenplays include "A New Leaf" (also direction and acting), "Mikey & Nicky" (also direction), "Heaven Can Wait" (written with Warren Beatty), "The Birdcage" (directed by Mike Nichols) and "Primary Colors" (directed by Nichols). She also contributed to Power Plays and Death Defying Acts for the stage.
Among Donen's film credits are "Bedazzled," "Two for the Road," "Charade," "Damn Yankees," "The Pajama Game," "Royal Wedding" and "Funny Face."
Performances will play 8 PM Tuesday-Saturday, 2 PM Wednesdays and Saturdays, 3 PM Sundays. Tickets are $25-$65. For information, call (212) 239-6200.
— By Kenneth Jones