Margaret Colin Has Left the House; Jan Maxwell Enters MTC Staging

News   Margaret Colin Has Left the House; Jan Maxwell Enters MTC Staging Margaret Colin has left Manhattan Theatre Club's New York premiere staging of House due to a scheduling conflict, and Jan Maxwell, a veteran of Neil Simon's The Dinner Party, has taken up residence.

Margaret Colin has left Manhattan Theatre Club's New York premiere staging of House due to a scheduling conflict, and Jan Maxwell, a veteran of Neil Simon's The Dinner Party, has taken up residence.

Maxwell plays the frustrated wife of a wealthy industrialist (played by Nicholas Woodeson) in House, one of a pair of conjoined plays (the other is Garden) presented simultaneously on two linked stages at MTC. A physical and timing challenge, the unique conceit by Alan Ayckbourn asks actors to exit House (on MTC's Stage I) and walk into a scene in Garden (on MTC's Stage II), and vice versa.

Performances under the direction of John Tillinger begin at MTC April 26.

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Veanne Cox, Michael Countryman, Daniel Gerroll and Nicholas Woodeson are among those who'll be mingling in and out of MTC's concurrent plays, House and Garden, which show action happening indoors and outdoors during a party. Stagings of the plays in other cities, such as Chicago, became the must-see events of the season, as theatregoers were hungry to witness what seemed like a logistical nightmare. At MTC, the true stars of the show just might be production stage managers James Fitzsimmons (House) and Barclay Stiff (Garden), and production supervisor Kate Broderick.

Performing simultaneously at MTC's Stage I and Stage II at City Center on 55th Street will be Woodeson, Cox, Countryman, Carson Elrod, Gerroll, Patricia Connolly, Laura Marie Duncan, John Curless, Ellen Parker, Bryce Dallas Howard, James A. Stephens, Olga Sosnovska and Sharon Washington. Opening Night is May 21.

In House, "Teddy Platt (Woodeson) is a wealthy industrialist in line to become a Member of Parliament. His wife Trish (Maxwell) isn't speaking to him because of his multiple infidelities. Mayhem erupts when Lucille (Sosnovska), a French film star, arrives to open the town garden fete, which the Platts are hosting. Garden focuses on the Platts' neighbors, Giles (Countryman) and Joanne Mace (Cox), whose marriage is dissolving while two bumbling caterers, Barry (Curless) and Lindy Love (Parker) wreak havoc, a backyard tent collapses, and Lucille (the French film star), has had a little too much to drink."

The design team includes John Lee Beatty (scenic), Jane Greenwood (costume), Duane Schuler (lighting) and Bruce Ellman (sound). The productions feature original music by John Pattison.

The performance schedule for House and Garden is 8 PM Tuesday-Saturday, with 2:30 PM matinees. Sunday performances are at 2:30 PM and 7 PM. Tickets for House ($60) and Garden ($50) can be reserved by calling (212) 581-1212. For group ticket information, call (212) 399-3000, ext. 134. Student tickets at $20 are on sale for all performances based on availability, one hour before showtime (limit four per student with valid identification). Call (212) 581-1212 for further information, or visit manhattantheatreclub.com.

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Like many American theatres with twice the theatre space, Houston's Alley Theatre is staging Ackybourn's simultaneous comedies, House and Garden, April 12-May 12 on both the Large Stage (House) and the Neuhaus Arena Stage (Garden). Visit http://www.alleytheatre.com.

Ackybourn is the author of over 60 plays including Absurd Person Singular, How the Other Half Loves, Bedroom Farce and Henceforward. He was most recently represented on Broadway with the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, By Jeeves.