David Chandler (A Question of Mercy) and Lorca Simons (Collected Stories) opened the world premiere of Allen Knee's dance-oriented love story Syncopation, Nov. 22 at Connecticut's Long Wharf Theatre. Performances began Nov. 16 for the run, which ends Dec. 19.
Long Wharf's Greg Leaming directs the play, which will travel to New Jersey's George Street Playhouse in January in exchange for the Playhouse's production of Anne Meara's Down the Garden Path (which ends its run there Dec. 19). After that, a commercial New York production is likely to follow. According to author Knee, Daryl Roth is on board as producer, currently looking at the Century Theatre as a possibility for the spring (though spokespersons for The Exact Center of the Universe say that show is already selling through February, with no closing date in sight.)
"Right now there are a lot of ifs," Knee told Playbill On-Line, "but it's a good time for me, with many good things happening. I think Syncopation is getting a wonderful production, and I really feel blessed with it -- and I rarely say that. Long Wharf really threw their heart and soul into it."
A two-person romantic drama set in 1911 Manhattan, Syncopation is the story of Henry (Chandler) and Anna (Simons), unlikely lovers drawn to one another by dance. As they practice their skills together, the two fall in love. Knee is the author of The Man Who Was Peter Pan, Late Nite Comic, Second Avenue Rag and Shmulnik's Waltz.
Chandler, a veteran of Long Wharf's Mercy, which traveled to London, appeared on Broadway in Death of a Salesman. Simon played Lisa opposite Uta Hagan in Collected Stories and in the first national tour of Three Tall Women. Jeffrey Lunden composed the score for the choreography by Willie Roserio. The design team includes Judy Gailen (sets), Jess Goldstein (costumes), Dan Kotlowitz (lighting) and Fabian Obispo (sound).
Agent Ostler told Playbill On-Line plans are also underway to do a workshop of Knee's musical, Little Women in the fall. Randall Wreghitt, Dani Davis and Jason Howland have optioned the work, penned with composers Kim Oler and Alison Hubbard. In October, Willy Falk and Jean Louisa Kelly participated in a York Theatre reading of the musical, which won the 1998 Richard Rodgers Development Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
For tickets to Syncopation call (203) 787-4282.
-- By Christine Ehren and David Lefkowitz