The Drama Dept. has decided against transferring its current hit, the 1933 Irving Berlin-Moss Hart revue As Thousands Cheer, to a larger Off Broadway house. "Three of our cast members have prior commitments," said Managing Director Michael Rosenberg, "and we felt it was better to close the show [on July 18] than to go back and recast. The process would have delayed the reopening and we would have lost any momentum we had."
Nonetheless, the Drama Dept. was so pleased with the way As Thousands Cheer turned out, it has asked the show's director, Christopher Ashley, and choreographer, Kathleen Marshall, as well as cast members Paula Newsome, Kevin Chamberlin, Howard McGillan, and B.D. Wong to become members. The other two people in the cast, Mary Beth Peil and Judy Kuhn, were already company members.
Cheer is now playing at the Greenwich House Theatre, where it was extended until July 18 before even opening. The show features such songs as "Heatwave," "Through a Keyhole," "How's Chances?" and "Supper Time." For tickets ($12) and information on As Thousands Cheer at the Greenwich House Theatre, 27 Barrow St., call (212) 239-6200.
Drama Dept.'s next venture will be an original work by member playwright Frank Pugliese, Hope Is the Thing with Feathers, about three couples from three generations whose lives intertwine. The play is the first in a collaboration between Drama Dept. and Fine Line/New Line Cinema. It is due to open in November. No director or cast members have been selected. Pugliese's other plays include Off-Broadway's Aven `U Boys.