The Herbal Bed, Peter Whelan's unusual drama about William Shakespeare's daughter, may have recently closed in London, but that hasn't made its planned trip to New York any more immediate.
Not only did the play transfer from the RSC Pit to the West End's Duchess Theatre, New York producers Alexander H. Cohen, Max Cooper & Duncan C. Weldon have been targeting a limited Broadway run for early 1998.
In September, the delay in definite plans was blamed on the producers' wait-and-see approach on how the show did in London. Now the delay has to do with both venue and casting. According to spokesperson David Gersten (of David Rothenberg Associates), reached Dec. 10, The Herbal Bed's London cast will not come to New York, so the search is on for new stars. Little or no news is expected on the show before the New Year.
Other sources have suggested that the crowded Broadway season, with available theatres few and far between, has also contributed to the delay.
The Herbal Bed concerns a real-life court case in which Shakespeare's daughter, Susanna, was accused of adultery with a neighbor. Michael Attenborough, principal director of the RSC, staged the UK production, which began previews at the Duchess Theatre on Catherine St., which opened April 16 and closed earlier in October. Other plays by author Whelan, an Honorary Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, include Worlds Apart (1987) and The School Of The Night (1993).
Starring in the London mounting were Teresa Banham (as Susanna) and Olivier-nominated supporting actor Stephen Boxer, alongside Raymond Bowers, Robin Weaver, Lorcan Cranitch, Richard Hawley and Barnaby Kay.
A spokesperson for the RSC said she had no information on plans to bring the show to Broadway.