When Warren Leight's Side Man has its long-awaited staging in London, starting Feb. 17, 2000, several of the original off-Broadway cast members will be along for the riff, including Edie Falco, Michael Mastro, Kevin Geer and Tony winner Frank Wood. One new voice will be heard, however. Playing the young narrator who looks back on his horrendous childhood will be Jason Priestley, best known for his years on TV's "Beverly Hills, 90210."
The role of Clifford has become something of a magnet for former teen & twentysomething movie and television idols, including Christian Slater, Scott Wolf and, most recently, Andrew McCarthy.
Angelica Torn, who took over the lead role in Side Man on Broadway (Edie Falco couldn't do it because of her commitment to HBO's "The Sopranos," and Wendy Makkena left to have a baby) will return to her original part in the drama, Patsy. Binder, playing Al, was understudy for the entire Broadway run of Side Man, according to production spokesperson Susan Chicoine.
Leight's Tony Award-winning play, Side Man, ended its lengthy Broadway run on Halloween, Oct. 31, after 23 previews and 409 performances at the John Golden Theatre. The drama began its New York life at off-Broadway's CSC March 3, 1998, running 7 previews and 35 regular performances before its move to the Roundabout's now-defunct mainstage Stage Right space for 27 previews and 93 regular performances before its move to the Golden. (Completionists might want to add that the show's first staging was at Vassar College, for 12 performances.)
The UK mounting, produced by Weissberger Theater Group, Jay Harris, Peter Manning/Ron Kastner/James Cushing and Joan Stein, will play at the Apollo Theatre. Side Man's last major mounting in the U.S. was at Washington DC's Kennedy Center, for a run Nov. 3-28. Mastro, Torn, Geer, McCarthy ("Heaven Help Us"), Michael O'Keefe ("Caddyshack," "The Great Santina"), Joseph Lyle Taylor and Marissa Matrone starred. Plans are also underway for Side Man to spring up in L.A. and other U.S. cities. Recent stagings have included Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre and Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati. The show tells how a man's love of jazz ruins his marriage -- and his wife's sanity. Leight's latest play, Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine (fka "The Glimmer Brothers"), played at Upstate New York's Penguin Rep in November.
-- By David Lefkowitz