By way of celebrating its 50th anniversary, The Actors Studio returned to its Group roots and read all 23 plays premiered by the legendary Group Theatre. In addition to an orgy of Odets (Rocket to the Moon, Waiting for Lefty, Night Music, Paradise Lost, Awake and Sing, Til the Day I Die, Golden Boy), there were Maxwell Anderson's Night Over Taos, Sidney Kingsley's Men in White, Irwin Shaw's The Gentle People, William Saroyan's My Heart's in the Highlands and the only musical mounted by the company, Johnny Johnson, by Paul Green and Kurt Weill. These nightly readings at The Actors Studio on W. 44th, produced by Estelle Parsons, drew from the deep end of the Actors Studio talent pool: Ben Gazzara, Lee Grant, Harvey Keitel, Anne Jackson, Cliff Robertson, Shelley Winters, Rip Torn, Miriam Colon, Ruben Blades and Eli Wallach.. . . The late Moss Hart is doubly represented Off-Broadway this month -- via sketches he wrote for Irving Berlin's
As Thousands Cheer and his debut collaboration with George S. Kaufman, Once in a Lifetime. The Berlin musical, getting its first New York airing since its 1933 launching, stars Drama Dept. inductees Howard McGillin, Judy Kuhn, Kevin Chamberlin, Mary Beth Peil, Tony winner B.D. Wong and Paula Newsome. Lifetime, a take-off on Tinseltown from two who had never been there, is being revived at the Atlantic Theatre Company by director David Pittu, who, taking his cue from the past, assigned himself the same role that Kaufman played in the original.
IN THE STUDIO
Just as The Actors Studio hits its half-century mark, The Acting Company reaches its 25th year as America's only professional, nationally touring classical repertory theatre. It's celebrating with Love's Fire: Fresh Numbers by Seven American Playwrights, which premiered in Minneapolis in January, played 45 cities across the country (plus London) and is now getting around to its New York debut at The Public this month. Mark Lamos directed this evening of seven one-act plays, which were inspired by Shakespeare's sonnets and written by John Guare, Wendy Wasserstein, Eric Bogosian, Tony Kushner, Ntozake Shange, Marsha Norman and William Finn. -- By Harry Haun