Israel Horovitz's My Old Lady will begins previews at the Promenade Theatre on Sept. 12 for an opening on Oct. 3. David Esbjornson, the man whom America's oldest playwrights (Albee, Miller) trust to direct their late career work, will pilot the piece. Siân Phillips, Peter Friedman and Jan Maxwell are in the cast.
My Old Lady received its West Coast premiere last December at the James A. Doolittle Theatre in Hollywood, courtesy of the Mark Taper Forum. The mounting was an unusually big one for Horovitz, whose recent plays have been tucked away in smaller spaces. Likewise, the Promenade is the biggest New York stage a Horovitz play has seen since Park Your Car in Harvard Yard played Broadway briefly in 1991.
The playwright remains best known for The Indian Wants the Bronx, which premiered more than three decades ago, with an unknown Al Pacino in one of the roles. Other plays include The Primary English Class and Lebenstraum. Since the mid-80s, he is perhaps most often identified as the father of rapper and "Beastie Boy" Adam Horowitz.
Esbjornson also directed in L.A. The New York cast, too, is identical to the West Coast one. Friedman is the American Mathias, Philips is the very French 84-year-old Mathilde and Maxwell is her daughter Chloe. The three characters are drawn together when Mathias seeks to sell the luxurious Paris apartment his father left him and finds it inhabited by Mathilde and Chloe.
A 1998 Tony Award nominee for Ragtime, in which he created the role of Tateh, Friedman also starred in the Broadway company (and subsequent film) of The Heidi Chronicles. Philips recently performed on Broadway in the one-woman show Marlene but may be best remembered for her star turn as Livia in the PBS series "I, Claudius." A musical theatre and straight play performer, Maxwell has appeared in several Tony Award-winning productions, including 1998's The Sound of Music, A Doll's House, Dancing at Lughnasa and City of Angels. Designing My Old Lady in L.A. were John Lee Beatty (sets), Elizabeth Hope Clancy (costumes), Scott Zielinski (lighting) and Jon Gottlieb (sound). Peter Golub composed the original score.
—By Christine Ehren