Theresa Rebeck's new play, Abstract Expression , will end its run at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT, Dec. 13. The production began previews Nov. 13 and opened Nov. 18.
Abstract is about a jaded, bitter painter whose sudden rediscovery sends his life into a tailspin. Greg Leaming will direct a cast featuring Mark Nelson (As Bees in Honey Drown ), Angie Phillips (The Seagull ), Beth Dixon, Glen Fleshler, Larry Gilliard, Kristine Nielson, Bray Poor, Jack Willis and David Wolos-Fonteno (OB's Distant Fires).
Rebeck's other plays include A View of the Dome and The Family of Mann. She has also written extensively for TV, particularly "NYPD Blue."
Abstract Expression was originally scheduled for a later slot in the schedule, after a season-opening revival of Stephen Schwartz's musical Working. The latter show ran into trouble, however, when director David Petrarca departed, reportedly to take a television gig. (He's now been slated to direct Red at Long Wharf later in the season.) Christopher Ashley, who recently directed successful Off-Broadway productions of Communicating Doors and As Thousands Cheer, has since been hired to stage this new version of Working, but the mix-up necessitated the musical's run being pushed back to Mar. 5-Apr. 4, 1999. Between Abstract Expression and Working, Long Wharf will present Chay Yew's Red (Jan. 8-Feb. 7, 1999), about a father and daughter caught up in China's Cultural Revolution. The father is involved in the Beijing Opera, while his offspring decides to join the revolution. When political forces begin to use the opera as a pawn, tragic consequences ensue.
Long Wharf's final offering will be a Hughes-directed production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing (Apr. 30-June 6, 1999). *
Meanwhile, Wendy Wasserstein is busy doing some rewrites on her play An American Daughter, which will grace Long Wharf's Second Stage Mar. 30-May 9, 1999. Daughter is the playwright's most recent full-length work and premiered on Broadway last spring but earned some of the poorest reviews of Wasserstein's generally rosy career. The satirical drama, which closed after a few months, concerns a Washington, D.C., doctor nominated for the office of surgeon general. Her off-the-cuff comments set off of media maelstrom.
To give the play a new lease on life, the Long Wharf and Wasserstein have selected as director Derek Anson Jones, currently enjoyed the success of his Off-Broadway mounting of Wit at Manhattan Class Company.
Also slated for the Second Stage season are The Gimmick (Oct. 27 Dec. 6, opening Nov. 4), a new one-person show by Dael Orlandersmith directed by Jaye Austin Williams; and Tim Blake Nelson's The Grey Zone (Jan. 26-Mar. 7, 1999), directed by Hughes.
-- By Robert Simonson