Fuddy Meers, David Lindsay-Abaire's absurdist-flecked comedy that moved from a fall run at Manhattan Theatre Club to a commercial run at Off-Broadway's Minetta Lane in January, will close shop there April 16.
By close, Fuddy will have played 16 previews and 78 performances at the Minetta Lane.
The play is a seriocomic portrait of an amnesiac wife (J. Smith Cameron) and her crazy extended family. Comic actor Mark McKinney ("Kids in the Hall," "Saturday Night Live") plays a stranger who speaks through the malevolent sock puppet on his hand. The critical hit started its run at the Minetta Lane Theatre Jan. 27 (opening Feb. 10).
Minetta Lane was the hoped-for house for a commercial run of Christopher Durang's Betty's Summer Vacation in 1999, but that never materialized due to booking conflicts. A group of producers is reportedly putting together a commercial run of Betty for the coming summer. The blues fable, Thunder Knocking at the Door, is the next tenant of the Minetta Lane, beginning previews May 12.
* The darkly comic Fuddy involves a woman's struggle to gain back her memory while surrounded by misfits who may or may not be friendly and/or family.
The world premiere officially opened Nov. 2, 1999, at MTC's Stage II (following previews that began Oct. 12, 1999). Smith Cameron (Night Must Fall, As Bees in Honey Drown) stars as Claire, the amnesiac wife and mom. David Petrarca (Marvin's Room) directs.
The company of Fuddy Meers includes Patrick Breen (Big River), Marylouise Burke (Lettice and Lovage on tour), Clea Lewis (TV's "Ellen"), Keith Nobbs (Stupid Kids, The Lion in Winter) and Robert Stanton (All in the Timing).
The title, Fuddy Meers, refers to a line spoken by a character with a speech impediment; "funny mirrors" is the attempted line.
Producing partner for the Minetta Lane run is Jean Doumanian. Designers are Santo Loquasto (sets and costumes), Brian MacDevitt (lighting) and Bruce Ellman (sound).
The MTC Stage II run ended Jan. 2. On Feb. 8, MTC's Stage II began hosting previews of Charles Busch's The Tale of the Allergist's Wife. It opened to strong reviews Feb. 29, and is now sold out. The production, more enthusiastically embraced than Fuddy Meers, is expected to move to Broadway in fall 2000.
Playwright Lindsay-Abaire recently completed Juilliard's Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program. He wrote Wonder of the World, which will have its debut in spring 2000 at Washington DC's Woolly Mammoth Theater, and A Devil Inside, Dotting & Dashing and A Show of Hands, among others. His next project is a play written with actress Janeane Garofalo in mind. The new, untitled comedy is being produced by Jon Steingart and Jenny Wiener of Mosaic Entertainment in spring 2000.
Tickets for the Minetta run of Fuddy Meers are $19.50-$50. Minetta Lane Theatre is at 18 Minetta Lane, New York City. For information, call (212) 307-4100.
-- By Kenneth Jones