Future attractions in the Drama Dept.'s new cabaret series include such seasoned performers as Judy Kuhn, Howard McGillin and Mary Beth Piel. But for the company's first offering, the bill features one-time fashion king but theatrical novice Isaac Mizrahi. The show, titled Les Mizrahi, will begin previews at the Greenwich House Theatre Oct. 3, open Oct. 19 and run through Nov. 25.
Mizrahi was a reigning fashion designer throughout the '90s, prominent enough to become the subject of the successful 1995 documentary film, "Unzipped." In 1998, however, he closed his business.
Mizrahi will not only sing and dance in the new show but design the sets and costumes (something he has done before for the likes of Twyla Tharp and Mark Morris). He will be accompanied by the Ben Waltzer Trio, made up of Waltzer on piano, Nicolas Thys on bass and Joe Strasser on drums.
The design team includes Kirk Bookman (lights), Wendall K. Harrington (projections), Laura Brace Brown (sound) and Charles Atlas (video montage).
Other cabaret acts to come will feature Kevin Chamberlin and Amy Hohn. * As first reported by Playbill On-Line back in February, the Drama Dept.'s upcoming season will feature new works by Douglas Carter Beane, Richard Greenberg and Amy and David Sedaris. Except for David Sedaris, all are company members.
Two plays by Beane, who is the troupe's artistic director, have been Drama Dept. productions: As Bees in Honey Drown and The Country Club. His new work is a musical, The Big Time, written with Douglas Cohen, author of No Way to Treat a Lady. The tuner, about the relationship between show business and terrorism, will debut in spring of 2001.
Amy Sedaris recently appeared in the troupe's production of Beane's The Country Club. Brother David, meanwhile, is the comic author of such volumes as "Barrel Fever" and "Naked." Together, they operate as The Talent Family and have presented a series of satirical, sketch-like comedies such as One Woman Shoe and The Little Frieda Mysteries. Most of these shows were seen at La MaMa, but the Sedaris siblings appear to have found a new home at the Drama Dept. No title has been attached to their upcoming endeavor, which is set for early 2001.
Greenberg's new work, The Dazzle, directed by David Warren, is also expected to make the Dept. schedule. The play, about two brothers and a mysterious society woman, is currently being staged by New York Stage and Film at Vassar College, with a cast including Peter Frechette and Reg Rogers. Greenberg, an original member of the Dept., has yet to provide the company with a new play, although his one-act, The Author's Voice, was revived last season as part of a double bill.
With the exception of one show, every production presented by the nearly five-year-old Drama Dept. theatre company has been staged in The Greenwich House, a 100-year-old community center located on Barrow Street just off Seventh Avenue in Greenwich Village. (June Moon was first seen at the Ohio Theatre.) Now, the troupe hopes to spruce up the building and make it its permanent home.
Drama Dept. managing director Mike Rosenberg told Playbill On-Line that the company has entered into an agreement with the Greenwich House in which the theatre will relocate its offices to the center and initiate a $3 million dollar renovation of the 1916 building's theatre, lobby and edifice.
The troupe plans to raise half of the $3 million from two or three individual donors and then match that amount through a fund-raising campaign.
-- By Robert Simonson