"This show is like my Valentine to theatre," explained If It Were Easy... playwright and producer Stewart F. Lane. The new comedy begins preview Feb. 15 and opens March 7.
Lane said he appreciated his collaborative relationship with co-writer, former columnist Ward Morehouse III. "I wanted to get back to the creative end," Lane said, "because it's so exciting. As we rehearse and change the script, the characters continue to develop. Right now we're ready for an audience...we're ready to 'rock 'n' roll.'"
The producer added that the development of If It Was Easy... echoes the days of David Belasco, when the producer and playwright used to collaborate, "before the late '50s and '60s when theatre development became more singular and insular."
Working on Easy offered Lane the chance to explore "two distinct points of view," meaning the theatrical (Lane's bailiwick) and the journalistic (Morehouse's). The Easy story is about the development of a stage show. Despite nine revisions, Lane said the play is still about a Sinatra musical which "becomes a runaway hit when the mob gets involved."
As reported, Lane also directs the James M. Nederlander/Stellar Productions Off-Broadway New York premiere of Easy. The backstage comedy runs at the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre. The two-time Tony Award®-winning producer Lane and former New York Post theatre columnist Morehouse saw the play staged at Atlanta's 7 Stages Theatre last July. Staged readings of the play have taken place at the Berkshire Theatre Festival (directed by Lane) and the Actors Theatre of Nantucket in the summer of 1999.
If It Was Easy stars John Jellison (On the Town, Titanic, Crazy for You, Sunday in the Park with George), Bonnie Comley (Fortune's Fools) with Brad Bellamy, Gustave Johnson, Christian Kauffmann, Martin LaPlatney, William Marshall Miller and Vicki Van Tassel.
The creative team comprises set designer Michael Anania, costume designer Steven Epstein and lighting designer Phil Monat.
Tickets range from $55-$60. The Douglas Fairbanks Theatre is located at 432 W. 42 St. For tickets call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 or visit www.IfItWasEasy.com.
—By Murdoch McBride