After a short run and a critical drubbing, the revival of Israel Horovitz's The Primary English Class, at the Minetta Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village, will close on Nov. 22. Previews began Oct. 27 for an opening night of Nov. 15. It will have played 21 previews and 9 performances.
The freeing up of a precious Off-Broadway space immediately sparked the interest of the producers of This Is Our Youth, who seized the Minetta Lane for an open-ended transfer of the hit Kenneth Lonergan play. Youth will complete its run at Second Stage, where it plays through Dec. 20, and most likely reopen at the Minetta Lane in January 1999.
Youth received a brief but acclaimed New Group staging in October 1996. The original director, Mark Brokaw, directs the same cast, with one exception: Josh Hamilton's role is now filled by Mark Rosenthal. Mark Ruffalo and Missy Yager will repeat their performances.
The show opened the 1998-99, 20th anniversary Second Stage season at its current home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It began previews Oct. 15.
Lonergan's comedy tells of the trials and misadventures of three disaffected trust-fund kids. The Primary English Class, meanwhile, stars Didi Conn, and is about a group of students, none of whom share a common language. They gather for a crash course in English. Conn will play the teacher, Debbie Wastba -- a role created by Diane Keaton.
Two-time Tony-winner Gerald Gutierrez directs The Primary English Class. Gutierrez last directed Honour on Broadway. His other credits include Ivanov, The Heiress, Northeast Local and The Most Happy Fella, all for Lincoln Center Theatre.
Other Horovitz plays include Line, The Indian Wants The Bronx, Rats and the Broadway Jason Robards & Judith Ivey starrer, Park Your Car in Harvard Yard.
Tickets ($30-$45) for Primary English Class are available via Ticketmaster, (212) 307-4100.
-- By Robert Simonson