The Jewish Repertory Theatre begins the New York City premiere performances of The Gardens of Frau Hess, by Milton Frederick Marcus, April 21 at The Duke on 42nd Street.
Rhoda Herrick directs the drama, about the fictional relationship between Ilsa Hess, wife of Nazi party leader Rudolph Hess, and Isaac Baum, a concentration camp prisoner and former professor of horticulture, who becomes her gardener. The work, set in Germany in 1944, is said to be "based upon actual events."
Lisa Bostnar is Ilse and Joel Leffert is Isaac. Designers are Richard Ellis (set), Rob Bevenger (costume) and Richard Latta (lighting).
Official opening is April 29. Playwright Marcus is a former writer, art director and creative director for many ad agencies in New York City. He studied playwriting at New York University, Playwrights Horizons, The New School, and acting at HB Studios. The Gardens of Frau Hess is his first play. It was previously produced at the Caldwell Theatre in Florida in 1998. His second play, Raw Sienna, had a private reading and he is completing work on a new play, The Last Quartet.
The JRT staging marks the directorial debut of Rhoda Herrick, an Off Broadway producer who heads the Herrick Theatre Foundation. Under the auspices of the foundation, she produced Sunday In The Park With George (in association with Playwrights Horizons), Lusting After Pipino's Wife, Distant Fires, Don Juan In Chicago, You Should Be So Lucky and When They Speak of Rita. Tickets range $40-$45. The Duke is at 229 W. 42nd Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. For information, call (212) 239-6200.
— By Kenneth Jones