Iin 1991, La Bete, a rare contemporary verse comedy about an acting troupe forced to compromise its artistic integrity, brought playwright David Hirson to Broadway. Commercial theatre has heard little from him since, but that may change as his latest play, The Wrong Mountain, continues to evolve in a series of readings. The latest reading, sponsored by Dodger Endemol Theatrical Productions, is happening the week of Aug. 3 in midtown Manhattan. Among the actors: Tony winners Alan Cumming and Ron Rifkin (both from the temporarily suspended Cabaret), Larry Pine (Bus Stop, Off-Broadway's The Preservation Society) and Joyce Van Patten (Labor Day). English director Richards Jones, who staged La Bete at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, is also helming this project.
Unlike La Bete, The Wrong Mountain is set in modern times and is not in verse. Actor Pine told Playbill On-Line (Aug. 6), "The play is about an unrecognized poet and his intellectual family. There's also this famous Broadway playwright, who's married to the poet's ex-wife. The playwright bets the poet $100,000 he can't write a play, but the poet does -- and it turns out to be really good."
Asked about The Wrong Mountain's future prospects, Pine said, "Well, this is the next step. The first readings we did, the play was 178 pages long. Now its 149 pages. I figure once it's in the 110 range... This is honestly the best play I've read since Angels in America."