Happy 50th to producer-director Gene Frankel.
No, it's not his 50th birthday, it's his 50th year working in the theatre! To celebrate, he's directing a new show at the Off-Broadway theatre that bears his name. Hallow'd Ground: The Private Thoughts Of Abraham Lincoln opens Nov. 24 at the Gene Frankel Theatre, for a run through Dec. 28. Produced by The New Mercury Players, the show began previews Nov. 15.
Hallow'd Ground features Richard Bourg as President Abraham Lincoln and covers his term from his 1860 election to the 1862 Gettysburg Address. Laced with humor, the play looks at both Lincoln's personal life and the problems -- slavery, the Civil War -- facing him as President.
Said Frankel in a statement, "Lincoln was not just a great President, he was also a great man, who combined humor with the writing of a Shakespeare. The Gettysburg Address...reawakened the idea of democracy."
Designing the show are Bill Clark (set), Everett Hoag (costumes) and Kevin Lawson (lighting). Bourg's previous credits include Othello (Pearl Theatre) and The Manchurian Candidate. As for Frankel, his credits include directing Indians (1970) and Once Upon A Russian on Broadway, and helping launch the Off Broadway movement. He serves as artistic director of the Gene Frankel Theatre.
The New Mercury Theatre, taking its inspiration from Orson Welles' original troupe, is founded on the belief that "art is a societal necessity, not a luxury." Their upcoming shows after Hallow'd Ground include Anouilh's Becket (March 1998), George Tabori's Jubilee (July 1998) and Paul Vincent's Last Actor In New York (Oct. 1998).
For tickets ($27.50) and information on Hallow'd Ground call (212) 279-4200.
-- By David Lefkowitz