Mark McKinney, the "Kids in the Hall" and "Saturday Night Live" vet who brought a bizarre comic quality to Manhattan Theatre's Club's Fuddy Meers in fall 1999, joins the commercial Off-Broadway run March 14.
In David Lindsay-Abaire's seriocomic portrait of an amnesiac wife and her crazy extended family, McKinney played a stranger who often spoke through the malevolent sock puppet on his hand. When the audience and critical hit started it run at the Minetta Lane Theatre Jan. 27 (opening Feb. 10), John Christopher Jones played the role. McKinney had other commitments and appeared in a "Kids in the Hall" reunion gig at Town Hall in February.
Clea Lewis (of TV"s "Ellen") was also new to the company at the Minetta Lane, playing a wild-eyed cop originated by Lisa Gorlitzy.
The darkly comic caper involves a woman's struggle to gain back her memory while surrounded by misfits who may or may not be friendly and/or family. Fuddy Meers, the world premiere of which officially opened Nov. 2, 1999, at MTC's Stage II (following previews that began Oct. 12, 1999), stars J. Smith-Cameron (Night Must Fall, As Bees in Honey Drown) as Claire, the amnesiac wife and mom in the comedy. David Petrarca (Marvin's Room) directs.
The company she keeps includes holdovers Patrick Breen (Big River), Marylouise Burke (Lettice and Lovage on tour), Keith Nobbs (Stupid Kids, The Lion in Winter) and Robert Stanton (All in the Timing).
Producing partner for the Minetta Lane run is Jean Doumanian. Designers are Santo Loquasto (sets and costumes), Brian MacDevitt (lighting) and Bruce Ellman (sound).
The MTC run ended Jan. 2. MTC's Stage II began hosting previews of Charles Busch's The Tale of the Allergist's Wife Feb. 8. It opened to strong reviews Feb. 29.
Fuddy Meers had a reading in spring 1998 at MTC's "Writers in Performance/Discovering the Next Generation" series. The title refers to a line spoken by a character with a speech impediment; "funny mirrors" is the attempted line.
Playwright Lindsay-Abaire recently completed Juilliard's Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program. He wrote Wonder of the World, which will have its debut in spring 2000 at Washington DC's Woolly Mammoth Theater, and A Devil Inside, Dotting & Dashing and A Show of Hands, among others. His next project is a play written with actress Janeane Garofalo in mind. The new, untitled comedy is being produced by Jon Steingart and Jenny Wiener of Mosaic Entertainment in spring 2000.
Tickets for the Minetta run of Fuddy Meers are $19.50-$50. Minetta Lane Theatre is at 18 Minetta Lane, New York City. For information, call (212) 307-4100.
-- By Kenneth Jones