Though his The Weir is enduring mixed reviews, so-so (but improving) business and no Tony nominations, author Conor McPherson is having better luck Off-Broadway. This Lime Tree Bower received good to excellent notices, leading to two extensions, the latest through July 18 at Primary Stages. The show, which started previews May 5 and opened May 19 was originally supposed to run through June 6 but was then extended to June 27.
The latest extension will bring with it a cast change. T.R. Knight leaves June 27, to be replaced by Jamie Bennett. He'll join Thomas Lyons and Drew McVety (Titanic, Corpus Christi), under the direction of Harris Yulin. The latter is best known as an actor, having most recently appeared on Broadway in The Diary of Anne Frank.
A tale of the drunken misadventure of three men who become entangled with local thugs and the police, This Lime Tree Bower is currently being adapted into the film, "Salt Water," the first feature directed by McPherson. Lime Tree Bower was first produced at the Crypt Theatre, transferred to the Bush Theatre in London and won the Meyer Whitworth and George Devine Awards for Best New Play. McPherson's current Broadway offering, The Weir, won an Evening Standard Award, Critic's Circle Award and two Oliviers including Best Play. Other plays include St. Nicholas, which Primary Stages hosted last season, Rum & Vodka and The Good Thief.
Designing Lime Tree are Walt Spangler (sets), Debra Stein (costumes) and Deborah Constantine (lighting). Marienne Chapman is the production stage manager. For tickets ($35), call the Primary Stages box office at (212) 333-4052. Primary Stages is located at 354 West 45th Street.
-- By David Lefkowitz and Christine Ehren