Mark Brokaw directs the Broadway premiere of the play that was seen Off-Broadway in the 1980s and in regional theatres ever since. Mary-Louise Parker, who appeared in the film version of the comedy, ascends to the lead role of Rachel, the wide-eyed suburban wife who learns on Christmas Eve that her husband, played by Tom Sadoski, has hired a hit man to kill her.
In the absurdist-tinged odyssey that follows, she meets a collection of people who, like herself, have changed their identities in order to escape their lives.
Michael O'Keefe plays Lloyd, who invites orphaned Rachel to live with him and his paraplegic wife, Pooty (played by Rosie Perez). Each has a secret. The company members double and triple in roles, with Jeremy Shamos and Olga Merediz playing choice characters roles (at one point, they are paired as smarmy game show host and his blonde, begowned sidekick).
Debra Monk plays a collection of shrinks who counsel Rachel.
Manhattan Theatre Club and Second Stage are partnering to produce the play, which is scheduled to end its limited run Dec. 5. MTC operates the Biltmore as its Broadway space, complementing its season of Off-Broadway works at City Center's Stage I and II. Second Stage is the Off Broadway troupe usually associated with second looks at works, though its mission has expanded to include new works. This is a rare Broadway venture for the latter. On Sept. 19, Parker won a 2004 Emmy Award for her work in TV's "Angels in America." She played Pooty in the motion picture, "Reckless," which starred Mia Farrow as a lost and forlorn Rachel. This production reunites Parker (a Tony Award winner for Proof) with MTC (which first produced Proof), as well as with Craig Lucas (she appeared in Broadway's Prelude to a Kiss) and director Mark Brokaw (who staged her in How I Learned to Drive).
Here's how MTC bills the play: "Rachel, a runaway wife, needs to dodge a murderous husband, numerous psychiatrists and an assortment of shady characters in a bizarre, hilarious and sometimes nightmarish journey."
Reckless was first mounted, in an earlier form, by The Production Company in 1983 under the direction of Norman René. Jan Eliasberg directed a South Coast Repertory production in 1985. Steve Schachter directed an Atlantic Theater Company staging in 1987.
The first performance of the 1989 published version of Reckless was on Sept. 14, 1988 at New York's Circle Repertory Company, directed by Norman René. Robin Bartlett played Rachel.
Parker also garnered a Tony nomination for her previous Lucas-penned work Prelude to a Kiss. On stage, she has also been seen in Bus Stop, Communicating Doors, How I Learned to Drive (directed by Brokaw), Four Dogs and a Bone, The Art of Success and The Age of Pie.
The actress had a recurring role on the NBC drama "The West Wing" appeared in such films as "Boys on the Side," "Grand Canyon," "Fried Green Tomatoes," "Portrait of a Lady," "Bullets Over Broadway."
O'Keefe is remember for his work in such films as "Caddyshack" and "The Great Santini," and in Broadway's Side Man and Mass Appeal.
Perez starred in such films as "White Men Can't Jump," "Fearless" and "Do The Right Thing."
A former actor, Lucas has penned the plays The Dying Gaul, God's Heart, Blue Window, Missing Persons, Stranger and This Thing of Darkness. His new work, Small Tragedy, played at Playwrights Horizons in 2003-04. Lucas also wrote the book for the dawning musical The Light in the Piazza and conceived Marry Me a Little (a conceptual revue of songs by Stephen Sondheim). He also penned the libretto for the opera to Orpheus in Love.
His new play, The Singing Forest, recently earned raves in Seattle.
Tickets ($81-$26) are available by calling TeleCharge.com at (212) 239-6200. Visit www.manhattantheatreclub.com.