Michael McClure's The Beard, one of the Beat culture's few significant contributions to the theatre, has done well enough in its first major New York revival at La MaMa to warrant a return visit. The production, directed by Lawrence Sacharow (Three Tall Women), closes Oct. 10 but will return to La Mama -- this time in the bigger, downstairs theatre -- for a run Nov. 18-Dec. 5. A trippy dialogue between Billy the Kid and Jean Harlow in the great beyond, The Beard raised many a hackle when it debuted in California in 1965 -- not surprisingly, since the play climaxed, so to speak, with an explicitly simulated sex act between cowboy and starlet. Initial productions were cut off early in their runs. And a Hollywood mounting was raided by police on 14 consecutive nights, while being roundly denounced by the likes of Charlton Heston and Nancy Reagan.
The Beard fared significantly better in New York, where it won Obies for star Billie Dixon and director Rip Torn.
Eva Patton and Leo Marks will star as Jean and Billy in the LaMaMa show. Sacharow won a Lucille Lortel Award for his direction of Albee's Three Tall Women, and netted an Obie for his work on Len Jenkin's Five of Us, also at La MaMa.
The Beard design team includes Beowulf Boritt (sets), Tracey Dorman (costumes) and Jane Cox (lighting). Daniel Levy composed the original score, performed by Bohdan Hilash.
For information on The Beard, which opened Sept. 23 call (212) 475-7710.
-- By Robert Simonson and Christine Ehren