James Joyce's The Dead Expires April 16 on Broadway

News   James Joyce's The Dead Expires April 16 on Broadway The musical, James Joyce's The Dead, which went from a sold-out run at Off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons to a limited run at the Belasco Theatre on Broadway to an open run at the same house, will close on April 16, after 112 performances and 32 previews.

The musical, James Joyce's The Dead, which went from a sold-out run at Off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons to a limited run at the Belasco Theatre on Broadway to an open run at the same house, will close on April 16, after 112 performances and 32 previews.

The musical recently won a Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical for its Off-Broadway incarnation in fall 1999. Gregory Mosher and Arielle Tepper moved the company -- including stars Christopher Walken and Blair Brown -- to the Belasco, where it opened Jan. 11. Mosher told The New York Times a national tour is being mulled, but insiders said that may not be for many months.

A cast album is hoped-for by fans of the unique score, but there are currently no definite plans for a recording, according to a spokesman. Some speculate that with recent public interest in all things Irish (Riverdance, "Angela's Ashes," etc.), a cast album would have much crossover appeal.

Walken began a three-week vacation shortly after the closing notice was announced. Some in the cast were hoping a surge in sales would follow the announcement and further buoy the show toward Tony Award time. That did not happen.

* Drawing on the famous short story, "The Dead," by Joyce, librettist director Richard Nelson and composer Shaun Davey created an intimate musical drama of detail, which some critics embraced as an antidote to brassier pop fare on Broadway.

For much of the show, the songs presented are presentational: Sung as party songs at an Irish Christmas gathering. Nelson and Davey used poetry fragments, music hall songs, chunks of Joyce's text and original lyrics and music for the patchwork score.

Stephen Bogardus stepped in for the vacationing Walken April 4. He plays the Irish narrator and husband, Gabriel Conroy, husband to Gretta, played by Faith Prince (who replaced Blair Brown, now of Broadway's Copenhagen). Gretta's memory of a dead love is stirred at the yule party, exposing an emotional chasm between the husband and wife.

Prince and Bogardus are old pals and co-stars from Off Broadway's Falsettoland.

James Joyce's The Dead is directed with such attention to detail and such intimacy that there is a buzz in the theatre community that the well-respected Nelson (whose directing career is just dawning) could steal a Tony Award from the directors of splashier shows this season. Nelson is best known as playwright of Two Shakespearean Actors, Goodnight Children Everywhere, Some Americans Abroad and New England.

*

Following several company cast changes, the troupe now includes Donna Lynn Champlin, Angela Christian, Paddy Croft, Daisy Eagan, Dashiell Eaves, Sally Ann Howes, John Kelly, Marni Nixon, Alice Ripley, Rex Robbins and Stephen Spinella.

Sean Curran is choreographer. Charles Prince is musical director. Designers are David Jenkins (scenic), Jane Greenwood (costumes), Jennifer Tipton (lighting) and Scott Lehrer (sound).

Tickets are $25-$75. For information, call (212) 239 6200.