Everett Quinton stars in an Off-Broadway revival of Charles Ludlam's The Mystery of Irma Vep at the Westside Theatre (407 W. 43rd St.). The show began previews Sept. 11 and opens Oct. 1.
Irma Vep was one of the biggest triumphs of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company, which Ludlam founded. After opening in October 1984, the camp classic went on to run for more than 300 performances.
Fourteen years later, Irma Vep is back and so is its star, Quinton, though the production is not a Ridiculous venture. After losing its space at One Sheridan Square, the company has roamed uncertainly from theatre to theatre for the last few years. Press rep Helene Davis said the troupe, though not defunct, is not currently producing. That would seem to be borne out by a press release for Irma Vep, which credits Quinton's tenure as artistic director of the company as ending in 1997.
Quinton will also direct Irma Vep, which concerns the unknown fate of the title character, once mistress of the Manor House but since the victim of an untimely and mysterious death. Ludlum, who died in 1987, directed the original production. Also in the cast is Stephen DeRosa, who recently made a splash as one of the stars of the Tony Kushner and John Guare contributions to the Acting Company's Love's Fire.
The play promises to be as polished a production as any Quinton has graced. The veteran design crew include Broadway's stalwarts John Lee Beatty, set designer of Chicago and The Heiress, among countless other shows; costume designer William Ivey Long, whose credits include Cabaret and Smokey Joe's Cafe ; and lighting designer Paul Gallo, whose work can be seen in Titanic and The Sound of Music. The producers are Steve Asher, Richard Frankel, Thomas Viertel, Steven Baruch, and Marc Routh. For information on The Mystery of Irma Vep, call (212) 239-6200.
-- By Robert Simonson