If Memory Serves, the new Off-Broadway comedy starring Tony winning actress Elizabeth Ashley, and Sam Trammell, the young star who made a splash a couple seasons back in Lincoln Center Theater's production of O'Neill's Ah, Wilderness!, was to have opened tonight, Dec. 8, at the Promenade Theatre. However, a last minute schedule change has pushed back the opening date to Sunday, Dec. 12. The official explanation was that the show needed more preview time, according to a press spokesperson.
Ashley will play a wholesome, Mary Tyler-Moore-Florence-Henderson-type television star desperate to revive her flagging career. All goes to pieces, however, when her son (Trammell) makes some ill-considered jokes which then take on a media life of their own.
Ashley is best known for several Broadway turns in the plays of Tennessee Williams, including Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Suddenly Last Summer. She recently appeared at Washington, D.C.'s Shakespeare Theatre in Sweet Bird of Youth.
Trammell won a Theatre World Award and a Clarence Derwent Award for Ah, Wilderness!.
Also in the cast are Tony Campisi (Frankie and Johnny in the Claire De Lune), Lynda Gravatt, Ron Mathews, Marilyn Sokol (Conversations with my Father), Melanie Vesey and Jeff Whitty (Gross Indecency). If Memory Serves is written by Jonathan Tolins, the author of Twilight of the Golds. Leonard Foglia, who staged the Broadway production of Terrence McNally's Master Class, directs. He also directed the Pasadena mounting of If Memory Serves, which starred Brooke Adams and David Groh.
Elizabeth Ashley lost nearly everything she owned Oct. 14 when a devastating fire gutted her Manhattan apartment. The fire struck Ashley's Union Square home after she stepped out for breakfast around 9 AM. A cigarette she had tossed into the kitchen wastebasket ignited. The resulting conflagration was fought by 190 firefighters for 90 minutes, according to The Daily News.
Ashley's 1962 Tony Award for Take Her, She's Mine was reportedly one of the items lost in the blaze. According to a spokesman for the Tonys, the trophy will be replaced by the organization. In a similar incident years ago, the Tony organization replaces Stephen Sondheim's Tony awards after his home was consumed by fire.
-- By Robert Simonson