Rue McClanahan, Lucie Arnaz and Leslie Uggams are among stars who will be part of Coconut Grove Playhouse's 2002-03 season of plays and musicals in Miami.
Beyond the announced pre-Broadway run of the new musical, Urban Cowboy, Nov. 5-Dec. 1, the resident professional company will offer McClanahan as a minister's wife getting Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks from a gay instructor, and Uggams and Clifton Davis in Charles Randolph Wright's mystical play, Blue, with Arnaz in a Cuban American themed work, Once Removed, by Eduardo Machado.
Blue (Dec. 11-29) is a co-production with Pasadena Playhouse, Paper Mill and Arizona Theatre Company. Randolph-Wright's play is infused with original jazz music and will be directed by Sheldon Epps, who helmed the New York staging. The work focuses on the South Carolina Clark family in the 1970s, when they are "buoyed by the prosperity of their recession-proof family funeral parlor."
Richard Alfieri's Six Dance Lessons (March 18-April 13, 2003) played successfully at the Geffen Playhouse in 2001 with 81-year-old Uta Hagen and David Hyde Pierce, and was aimed at Broadway before Hagen took ill. Producer Rodger Hess told Playbill On-Line Aug. 16 the staging will move on to Broadway in early fall 2003. The original director, Arthur Allan Seidelman, will again be helming. Hess, Marcia Seligson & Entpro Inc., along with Barry and Fran Weissler, were attached to the planned spring 2002 Broadway run that did not materialize; they are still the shepherds. Kay Cole choreographs.
McClanahan starred in TV's "The Golden Girls" and appeared in Roundabout Theatre Company's staging of The Women in 2001-2002. Once Removed (April 22-May 18, 2003), by Eduardo Machado, has "seeds of humor, social comment, sorrow and satire," as Lucie Arnaz stars in this tale of five privileged Cuban exiles who have fled Castro's Cuba a few months prior to the 1961 Bay of Pigs fiasco. "Once wealthy, they're now poor foreigners who move first to Hialeah and then, lured by the promise of food, housing and jobs from Presbyterians in Texas, to Dallas."
Urban Cowboy, by Aaron Latham and the late Phillip Oesterman, is based on the 1980 film and uses songs from the picture as well as interpolated tunes. This is billed as the world premiere.
The Coconut Grove Playhouse season also includes:
The Unexpected Man (March 4-May 11, 2003), Yasmina Reza's London and New York hit about two strangers meeting in a compartment of a train headed from Frankfurt to Paris. One is an unhappy writer and the other, a woman who clutches his latest book, "The Unexpected Man." The staging is in the Encore Room Theater. For subscription information, call (305) 446-3857.
— By Kenneth Jones