NO-TELL LORTEL: The belle of Off-Broadway--Lucille Lortel, the one with the Energizer battery--just rang up another birthday, and pal Anna Strasberg threw open her Central Park West apartment for a party.
Among all those pillars of the theatrical community, the honoree coyly pondered her age:"Forty years at the Lortel, fifty years at the White Barn--let them add it up!" I told her I'd get back to her about that. (It was Oscar Wilde who advised never asking a lady her age: "If she'll tell you that, she'll tell you anything!")
One of her guests, Circle Rep founder Marshall W. Mason, just staged "Robbers" up at Long Wharf in New Haven with Judd Hirsch and will be doing the Peter Feibleman-Lillian Hellman "Cakewalk"--but his next may well be a new play by his favorite (and most frequent) playwright, LanfordWilson. "Sympathetic Magic" was commissioned by The Second Stage, so it should surface there--if all goes well, by spring.
EVE (HARRINGTON) WOULD HAVE BEEN PLEASED: At the American Theatre Wing's annual grant-dispensing in which a Solomonesque Isabelle Stevenson flung just under $100,000 to 33 different acting companies, the best line came from the ingenue of "The School for Scandal," Megan Dodds, by way of introducing herself: "It might interest you to know that I'm the actress whose understudy just married Tony Randall."
Sybil Christopher attended the ATW luncheon, harboring--Sag Harboring, in fact--the hope somebody'd slip a check to her Bay Street Theatre there. No one did (something about not getting the application in soon enough), but they should have. This season alone Bay Street sent three new works to NYC: "Splendora" to the American Place Theatre, Ron Nyswaner's "Oblivion Postponed" to The Second Stage and Terrence McNally, Joe Pintauro and Lanford Wilson's "By the Sea, by the Sea, by the Beautiful Sea" to the Manhattan Theatre Club. Because "Company" called (too briefly, as it turned out), Debra Monk had to relinquish the role she originated in Nyswaner's play to Mary Beth Hurt, but she was there on opening night to cheer her and John Glover on.
Monk and two other "Company" wives--Kate Burton (Sybil's daughter by Richard Burton) and Tony-worthy Veanne Cox--joined Peter Slutsker and Ruth Williamson at Bay Street for some Hans Christian Andersen, musicalized by Anthony Drewe and George Stiles, "The Ugly Duckling, or The Aesthetically Challenged Farmyard Fowl." EvanPappas had the tres-p.c. title role.
You may or may not have seen "Time on Fire" at The Second Stage, but you can read the book now. Little, Brown and Company has just published the prose replay of Evan Handler's harrowing, hilarious, ultimately haunting one-man show about his brush with leukemia (subtitled, accurately, "My Comedy of Terrors"). By day, he's his own book publicist; by night, actor--his chose profession--in "The Grey Zone" for Manhattan Class Company with Michael Stuhlbarg and Henry Stam.