Keen Company to Begin 2006-07 Season With Burnett's Theophilus North

News   Keen Company to Begin 2006-07 Season With Burnett's Theophilus North Off-Broadway's Keen Company, which deals in "sincere" plays both old and new, will begin its first season at its new Theatre Row digs with Theophilus North by Matthew Burnett.

Theophilus North is based on the novel by Thornton Wilder and will be directed by Carl Forsman. The production begins previews Sept. 5 and will run through Oct. 14. The plot is described thusly: "In the Spring of 1926, 30-year-old Theophilus North decides to quit his teaching post in New Jersey and embark on a quest for fun, excitement and his place in the world—until his used car breaks down in Newport, Rhode Island, stranding him in this city of renowned wealth. Insinuating himself into the lives and troubles of Newport's residents, both idle rich and working class, Theophilus hopes to make a difference in their lives. Will they return the favor?"

The play is adapted from the final novel by Wilder, author of the plays Our Town and Skin of Our Teeth.

The novel was adapted into a 1988 film called "Mr. North," starring Anthony Edwards as Theophilus. Also in the cast were Lauren Bacall, Robert Mitchum, Harry Dean Stanton, Anjelica Huston, Virginia Madsen, Tammy Grimes and Christopher Durang.

The production will reside at the Clurman Theater on Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues). Until now, Keen has been a roaming company, though its offerings can most commonly be found at the Connelly Theatre in the East Village. Under a new contract with Actors' Equity, the Keen will now officially be an Off-Broadway troupe.

The second show of the 2006-07 season is still under consideration. Under consideration for the March 6-April 14, 2007, slot are T.S. Eliot's drama The Confidential Clerk and Maxwell Anderson's Saturday’s Children. Keen Company's production of In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer runs through June 25 at the Connelly Theater.