Last week it was a maybe; now it's a certainly. Those fighting to get a free ticket to the hottest show in town have an extra week to do so. The Public Theater is adding an extra week to the starry production of The Seagull currently in previews at Central Park's Delacorte Theatre.
The Seagull, directed by Mike Nichols, and with a cast featuring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline, began previews July 24. It was set to run only through Aug. 19, but will now play until Aug. 26. On July 27, a Public Theater spokesperson said that the possibility of a week-long extension depended solely on the schedules of the venture's many name actors the main consideration. Also in the cast are Marcia Gay Harden as Masha, Natalie Portman as Nina, Christopher Walken as Sorin, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Konstantin, John Goodman as Shamrayev, Debra Monk as Polina, Stephen Spinella as Medvedyedo and Larry Pine as Dorn.
Since beginning previews, the papers have been filled with stories of New Yorkers and out-of-towners waiting hours for tickets to the show. According to the New York Times, people begin waiting in Central Park at 4 AM. Tickets are not dolled out until 1 PM.
Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline head the cast as Arkadina and Trigorin. The new Seagull began with a recent reading of Chekhov's classic held in Mike Nichols' Manhattan apartment, starring Streep and Kline. Though Nichols has "supervised" various plays in recent years, his last theatre assignment as director was Death and the Maiden. Streep, meanwhile, has been missing from the theatre for even longer. During the 1970s, she appeared in New York City stagings of The Cherry Orchard, Happy End and Taming of the Shrew. She is the winner of two Oscars. Kline, an Oscar winner himself, has been slightly more faithful to the boards. Since taking the Tony for The Pirates of Penzance, he has appeared in Hamlet at the Public and, most recently, Ivanov at Lincoln Center Theatre.
—By Robert Simonson