After making his debut as playwright this summer at The Berkshire Theatre Festival, Tony-winning producer and Broadway theatre-owner Stewart Lane has made his directorial debut with A.R. Gurney's The Golden Age at the Actor's Theatre of Nantucket. The production began Aug. 20 and ends its scheduled run Sept. 11.
Gurney's The Golden Age is loosely based on the Henry James novel, "The Aspern Papers" and tells the story of a once glamorous Manhattan socialite, Isabel Hastings Hoyt, who ran with some of the most glittering literary circles of the 1920's. Isabel has problems with her granddaughter, but even worse is an academic convinced F. Scott Fitzgerald based Daisy from "The Great Gatsby" on Isabel.
Irene Worth and Stockard Channing starred in the Off-Broadway production of The Golden Age. This mounting stars Jetti Ames as Isabel, Bonnie Comley as Virginia and stand-up comedian/actor Paul Singleton as Tom.
Lane began his professional theatre career as an actor after graduating from Boston University in 1973. In a producing career spanning 25 years, Lane has won two Tony Awards as producer of La Cage Aux Folles and The Will Rogers Follies.
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Lane has been busy on other fronts as well. He and Ward Morehouse III, until recently the theatre reporter for the New York Post, have teamed to pen the new comedy, If It Were Easy....
Lane described the work as being in the tradition of the Ben Hecht-Charles MacArthur classics The Front Page and The Twentieth Century. Asked about working with a former semi-adversary, Lane said in a statement, "Columnists and producers have been strange bedfellows, handcuffed together like Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin in `Midnight Run.' ...We really felt this kind of co-dependent and mutually exploitive relationship would be a very funny premise for a play. For his part, Morehouse lauds Lane's extensive knowledge of showbiz and for being one of his "most helpful sources" when Morehouse was a NY Post columnist, a positionMorehouse held for five years.
According to a Media Blitz spokesperson, If It Were Easy went into development at Massachusetts's Berkshire Theatre Festival, with Lane directing a staged reading of the piece July 11.
Lane is the head of a producing group called the Producers Network, which is examining the possibility of sponsoring a season of low-budget Off Broadway musicals during the 1999-2000 season. Lane is also co-owner of the dormant Biltmore Theatre on Broadway.
-- By Sean McGrath & David Lefkowitz