Come mid-autumn, Julie Harris will likely return to the New York stage in a play by South African dramatist Lisette Lecat Ross. Producer Arthur Cantor told Playbill On-Line Scent of the Roses will begin rehearsals in late September and then target "a large Off-Broadway house or a Broadway house at the end of October," depending on theatre availability ("there's a real booking jam right now") and how much money can be raised for the production. Cantor said the show might also go out of town before reaching Manhattan.
He estimates the budget for an Off-Broadway mounting at $600,000, while a Broadway staging would go "over a million."
Scent of the Roses was first produced with Harris at Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre, July-Aug. 1998. ACT artistic director Gordon Edelstein staged the show, and he's been tapped to do so again for the New York mounting. Five-time Tony winner (and ten-time nominee) Harris will recreate her role as Annalise Morant, a South African woman whose children wish her to part with her most cherished possession: a mysterious and valuable painting. The drama unfolds as we discover what special significance the artist and the painting hold for Annalise.
Harris is currently on tour opposite Charles Durning in National Actors Theatre's The Gin Game through May 16. On March 15 she'll be in Florida to receive the Caldwell Theatre's Spotlight Award for "lifetime service to the theatre arts." No casting for the seven other roles in Roses has yet been decided. An October 1998 ACT press release noted that the Seattle design team of Thomas Lynch (set), Martin Pakledinaz (costumes), Peter Kaczorowski (lighting) and John Gromada (sound, music) will also design the New York production.
Other plays by Lecat Ross include Moment of Truth and Pluperfect Subjunctives. Producer Cantor's credits include The Tenth Man and All The Way Home, as well as Off-Broadway's Beau Jest and A Room of One's Own.
-- By David Lefkowitz and Christine Ehren