Meara’s Garden Blooms In FL, March 24-April 2; Awaiting NYC Venue

News   Meara’s Garden Blooms In FL, March 24-April 2; Awaiting NYC Venue After a successful mounting at New Jersey's George Street Playhouse, Anne Meara's second play, Down the Garden Paths, had an equally potent -- and mostly sold-out -- run at Connecticut's Long Wharf Theatre. New York would have seemed like the next obvious step, but the logjam for theatres on and Off-Broadway continues, and producers are looking for a way to keep Garden Paths blooming in the hopes reaching Manhattan in the not-too-distant future.

After a successful mounting at New Jersey's George Street Playhouse, Anne Meara's second play, Down the Garden Paths, had an equally potent -- and mostly sold-out -- run at Connecticut's Long Wharf Theatre. New York would have seemed like the next obvious step, but the logjam for theatres on and Off-Broadway continues, and producers are looking for a way to keep Garden Paths blooming in the hopes reaching Manhattan in the not-too-distant future.

According to George Street spokesperson Gabriel Shanks, director David Saint and the Long Wharf-George Street cast have assembled for two brief stagings in Florida, first at Fort Lauderdale’s Parker Playhouse (March 24 26) and then at Palm Beach’s Royal Poinciana (March 28-April 2). The hope is that by the time the runs are done, a New York house will come available.

The timeline is especially crunched, not just because of the difficulty of reassembling the cast in the fall, but because Saint is supposed to be directing Arthur Laurents’ Jolson Sings Again around that time as well. Saint previously staged Meara’s After-Play in New York and around the country.

“It’s a waiting game,” spokesperson Shanks told Playbill On-Line (March 22). “We’ve got a small window to find space in New York. Hopefully we can resolve something.”

* Down the Garden Paths started NJ previews Jan. 19 and opened Jan. 26. The story of a family gathering to celebrate the latest novel by an award winning author, Down the Garden Paths features an on-film cameo by Meara's real-life husband, Jerry Stiller, playing Herschel Strange, a quantum physicist. Stiller and Meara's real-life daughter, Amy Stiller (Sharon Garden/Jodie Garden), is also in the show. And adding further to the show's familial undercurrent are true life couple Eli Wallach (Sid Garden) and Anne Jackson (Stella Dempsey Garden), joined by their daughter, Roberta Wallach (Claire Shayne/Claire Garden). Supporting cast members include Michael Countryman (Max Garden), Angela Pietropinto (Professor Cramer), John Procaccino (Arthur Garden) and Ann McDonough (Liz Garden).

Jackson and Wallach have appeared together in such shows as Twice Around the Park and the recent Tennessee Williams Remembered. The younger Wallach received a Drama Desk nomination for playing the hellishly unpleasant daughter in Donald Margulies' The Model Apartment.

Designing The Garden Paths at George Street were Michael Elliott (lighting, replacing Howell Binkley, who was busy on Minnelli on Minnelli), James Youmans (set), Chris Bailey (sound) and David Murin (costumes).

-- By David Lefkowitz
and Christine Ehren