THE LINE STARTED HERE: Off-Broadway's big "Eureka!" momentthe opening of A Chorus Line downtown at The Publicwas recalled and, to a remarkable degree, emotionally re-created in So . . . It's Come to This, one of two one-man shows written and directed by the same one-man, Emmett Foster, for New York Theatre Workshop's recent Seventh Not Quite Annual "O Solo Mio Festival." The other part of the Foster was Emmett: A One Mormon Show, about growing up gay and religious. Part II (So . . . It's Come to This) is a warm-hearted, frequently funny take on his life as Joe Papp's Man Friday. Consider it a testament to the total theatricality of Papp that even his gofer turned out to be a gifted monologist.
David Ives (who took up The Red Address at The Second Stage) and Michael Feingold (who translated The Barber of Seville for The Pearl and theatre-in-general for Village Voice readers) are two of the dozen playwrights represented in The Best American Short Plays 1995-1996, just put out by Applause Books.
Not that Henry VI: Part One and Henry VI: Part Two ran long into extra innings at The Public, but top honcho George C. Wolfe says he's having T-shirts printed up that say: "I survived the War of the Roses."
MARKING IT WELL: In one of his first notices as The New York Times's second-string drama critic, Peter Marks gave good marks to Mark Ruffalo, a heretofore-unknown L.A. actor making a splashy NYC bow in Kenneth Lonergan's slacker comedy, This Is Our Youth -- good enough to warrant a second coming for play and player this spring. Response to its initial limited run on Theatre Row has prompted its New Group sponsors to shop around for an Off-Broadway house so the piece can have the open-ended engagement it deserves. Hopefully, Josh Hamilton and Missy Yeager will be back for the long ride as well.
Such an emotional Carlsbad Cavern separated the two acts of The Substance of Fire that some folks felt Jon Robin Baitz had written two separate plays. For the film adaptation, he filled in that gapping interval quite commendably, and the resultant screenplay has just been published by Hyperion. Not the least of the movie's virtues is that it preserves Ron Rifkin's Obie- and Drama Desk Award-winning performance of a publishing patriarch. Sarah Jessica Parker, also from the original Playwrights Horizons cast, co-stars.
-- By Harry Haun