Tonight, March 2, Julie Halston, a veteran of Charles Busch's loopy-campy farces, joins the cast of The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. She assumes the various roles played by Lisa Kron in Paul Rudnick's loopy campy biblical play.
Halston's credits include such Busch comedies as You Should Be So Lucky, Red Scare at Sunset and The Lady in Question.
Fabulous Story officially reopened at the Minetta Lane Theatre on Feb. 1 following a successful run at the New York Theatre Workshop. Juan Hernandez and Amy Sedaris left the cast of Rudnick's retelling of the Judeo-Christian creation story. Replacing them were, respectively, Jay Goede (Sex and Longing) and Peg Healey.
The rest of the original New York Theatre Workshop cast remain, including Obie Award winner Joanna Adler (Benita Canova ), Katherine Meisle, Peter Bartlett, Orlando Pabotoy and Alan Tudyk (Bunny Bunny ). In the play, Rudnick ponders what it would be like had God started out by making Adam and Steve, rather than Adam and Eve. Adam and Steve (along with Jane and Mabel) take us on a journey from Mesopotamia to a K Mart on Christmas Eve as they struggle for faith and search for God.
Rudnick's comedy made its debut this summer at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. As he did at Williamstown, frequent Rudnick collaborator Christopher Ashley directs.
Asked about his working relationship with Rudnick, Ashley told Playbill On-Line (Feb. 19), "This is the fourth play Paul and I have worked on together. We have a very collaborative process. We developed it together. He's completely open with what he thinks, though he writes every word. There's no word in any script that comes out of my mouth. But where's the plot gonna go and structure and reworking -- that's very collaborative. As is casting. As is what happens on stage.
"Paul is one of those very rare writers who absolutely can incorporate any idea, whether it comes from me or an usher. He has a very secure ego. The work is very fluid until last minute."
Continued Ashley, "Our way of working is...he'll write part of it. We'll read it, talk about it. Then we'll do a series of readings in our apartments with actors doing favors for us over the course of 3-8 months, before there's even a developmental production. The final play is almost unrecognizable from the first reading. For example, in Jeffrey, the whole Steve Darius plotline [with the latter dying from AIDS] came about midway through the WPA production. Huge plot ideas come in very late, which is thrilling but really hard on set designers. When [Paul] came up with that finale at the top of the Empire State Building, they bled from the ears on that one.
"In Most Fabulous Story, we kept changing what bible stories went into Act One. We had a whole Mount Sinai sequence, plus stuff with the Whore of Babylon. The scenes that were cut were really hilarious. But Paul is a rewriting fiend. When Fabulous moved from New York Theatre Workshop to the Minetta Lane, he wrote thirty new pages and also cut fifteen minutes -- which for Paul is about one evening's rewriting work. He's so ruthless with his own material. It's not uncommon for him to do forty or fifty pages of rewrites overnight. Right now I'm back and forth from New Haven directing the musical Working at the Long Wharf. And he still calls to pitch new jokes."
Rudnick's comedies include Jeffrey, The Naked Eye, Mr. Charles and I Hate Hamlet, as well as scripts for the films "In & Out" and "Addams Family Values."
Call (212) 420-8000 or (212) 307-4100 for more information on The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.
-- By David Lefkowitz & Robert Simonson