Remember when Nick Nolte was nearly set to star in The Unexpected Man on Broadway?
Remember when Ben Gazzara was rumored to star in a Roundabout Theatre Company mounting of The Unexpected Man at the Gramercy Theatre?
Remember way back to December 1998, when Eileen Atkins was a definite to star in The Unexpected Man at the Promenade Theatre?
Well, that last, earliest prediction is the one that has come true -- albeit a year later than expected. As reported back in June, Atkins, who has been with the project since its London mounting by Matthew Warchus in spring 1998, now stars in The Unexpected Man, opening Oct. 24 at Off Broadway's Promenade Theatre. Warchus (Art, True West) again directs, and Atkins' co-star is Alan Bates, a Tony winner for 1973's Butley and a film star via "An Unmarried Woman" and "Women in Love."
Man’s limited run began Oct. 10 and will end Dec. 31. Tickets went onsale Aug. 1 via Tele-Charge, (212) 239-6200. According to the Jeffrey Richards Associates press office, rehearsals began in London Sept. 5.
Atkins' credits include Vita & Virginia (opposite Vanessa Redgrave), and Tony-nominated turns in Indiscretions, The Killing of Sister George and Vivat! Vivat Regina!.
The West End production of Unexpected Man starred Atkins and Michael Gambon, with Atkins winning the Olivier Award as Best Actress in a Play for her performance as the lifelong fan of a writer who finds herself sitting across from him on a train. The play's running time is 80 minutes. As it was in London, Christopher Hampton's English translation is being employed, as is the design team that did Broadway's Art: Mark Thompson (sets and costumes) and Hugh Vanstone (lighting). Gary Yershon has provided original music.
Asked about how it all finally came together, producer Julian Schlossberg told Playbill On-Line in June, "It's not sudden, believe me. I don't produce suddenly." Schlossberg's co-producers are Ben Sprecher, Ted Tulchin and William P. Miller.
For tickets and information on The Unexpected Man at the Promenade Theatre, Broadway and 76th Street, call (212) 239-6200.
-- By David Lefkowitz