The world premiere of James Lapine's exploration of the lives of New York City's arts-and-lit set, The Moment When, is seeking another moment for its debut. The show was supposed to open March 12 at Off Broadway's Playwrights Horizons, but that date has now been postponed, with a new opening night expected within the next week or two.
A spokesperson from the Publicity Office told Playbill On-Line the delay came about because "it's a new play, they're working on it, and they want to get it right. Plus there was a cast change during rehearsals."
Previews began Feb. 19 after the Feb. 18 preview was canceled due to the above-mentioned cast change. Estelle Parsons dropped out of rehearsals due to another project, and Phyllis Newman (Subways Are For Sleeping, Shyster, A Majority of One) was invited in. Performances are still scheduled to run through March 26.
In The Moment When, actress Newman plays a New York agent in a drama whose description sounds very New Yorky indeed. The production description reads: "A hotshot book jacket artist, a novelist and an agent's assistant meet at a quintessential literary soiree. Their lives become inexorably linked, and forever changed. Over the course of fifteen years, families are formed and unformed, careers are made and unmade, and lives are uprooted in pursuit of an elusive happiness."
Michael Lindsay-Hogg directs a cast that includes Illeana Douglas as the novelist, Mark Ruffalo as the book jacket illustrator, Arija Bareikis as an agent's young assistant. Kieran Culkin and Ann Harada are featured. *
Bareikis appeared in The Last Night of Ballyhoo and "Snow Falling On Cedars," Culkin acted in the film, "The Cider House Rules," Douglas starred in the Fox TV series, "Action," Ruffalo was a fried twentysomething in Off-Broadway's This Is Our Youth, and Harada appeared in Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall, a 1999 cabaret spoof in which she and another Asian actress played understudies forced to go on for Carol Burnett and Julie Andrews in their famed 1962 Carnegie Hall show.
Lapine is fresh off directing and co-conceiving Off-Broadway's Dirty Blonde, written by Claudia Shear. As a librettist, Lapine (and Stephen Sondheim) won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Sunday in the Park With George, which began at Playwrights Horizons. He directed and wrote Passion (with Stephen Sondheim), Table Settings, Twelve Dreams and Luck, Pluck and Virtue, and directed Wendy Kesselman's new adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank, on Broadway. With William Finn, he collaborated on A New Brain and the Off-Broadway shows March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland, later produced on Broadway as Falsettos.
Director Michael Lindsay-Hogg staged Broadway productions of Agnes of God and Whose Life is It Anyway?, and the original production of The Normal Heart at The Public Theater.
Tickets to The Moment When are $37.50. Playwrights Horizons produces in its Anne G. Wilder Theater, 416 W. 42nd St. For information, call (212) 279-4200,or visit the website at www.playwrightshorizons.org.
-- By David Lefkowitz
and Kenneth Jones