After years of talk and a London production at the Almeida in September 1998, Edward Albee's newest work, The Play About the Baby, will make its U.S. premiere at Houston's Alley Theatre April 7. Marian Seldes and Earle Hyman lead the cast, directed by Albee himself.
Although Baby was rumored to be a sequel to Albee's most revered work, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, where an imaginary child is discussed, the four-character play is not a continuation of that storyline. Instead, it tells of a young couple who appear to have just had a child, only to find that illusion challenged by the arrival of an older man and woman. Other Albee plays are the Pulitzer Prize winners A Delicate Balance, Seascape and Three Tall Women, as well as the short works The Zoo Story and The American Dream, which Albee directed for the Alley last season.
A Tony winner for Albee's Delicate Balance, Seldes was nominated for a 1999 Tony Award for her work in Ring Round the Moon, in which she replaced an ailing Irene Worth as Madame Desmermortes. A Theatre Hall of Fame inductee in 1996, Seldes' New York credits include Three Tall Women, The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore, Father's Day, Equus, Deathtrap and Ivanov.
Hyman is best known for his television role as Russell Huxtable, Bill Cosby's father on "The Cosby Show." A veteran theatre performer, he was Tony nominated for The Lady From Dubuque and went on to perform on Broadway in Execution of Justice, The Master Builder and Anna Lucasta. He also starred in Driving Miss Daisy Off-Broadway.
The addition of The Play About the Baby will cause a disruption in the previously announced Alley season. Baby takes the time slot originally slated for Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, which will perform from May 19-June 18. Romeo and Juliet set for that run will be moved to a future Alley season. Season ticket holders will keep their seats, but single ticket holders to Romeo and Juliet may contact the theatre at (713) 228-8421 for refund information. Tickets to The Play About the Baby are $49-$19 and available by calling (713) 228-8421 or (800) 259-ALLE. Baby runs from April 7-May 6 with an opening night April 12.
-- By Christine Ehren