VIVA VEANNE!: Last month The Food Chain, Nicky Silver's manic antic at the Westside Theatre, finished its lengthy and critically acclaimed Off-Broadway run. Veanne Cox, the hysterically altar-bound bride of the Roundabout's Company (who made the runnings for this year's Tony and Drama Desk Awards), had recently inherited the lead role of the neurotic newlywed that was originally portrayed by Hope Davis.
Come fall, you'll probably find Cox in The Batting Cage, the Joan Ackerman comedy that she and Babo Harrison launched (under Lisa Petersen's direction) last spring in the 20th Humana Festival of New American Plays at the Actors Theatre of Louisville. Producers David Stone, Amy Nederlander-Case, Andrew Kato and Jenny Weiner have hired the trio to repeat their chores Off-Broadway.
In case you've never made the Louisville trek, Heinemann just published two volumes of A Decade of New Comedy: Plays from the Humana Festival. Included are the works of Eduardo Machado (In the Eye of the Hurricane), Arthur Kopit (Road to Nirvana), Richard Dresser (Below the Belt), Regina Taylor (Watermelon Rinds), Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman (Trendy Blue), Jane Martin (Cementville). The Kopit had a run at Circle Rep a few seasons back, and the Dresser just completed a much-too-brief one (in light of the glowing reviews) at the John Houseman, freeing Judd Hirsch to replace the already perfectly cast Robert Klein in the Roundabout revival of Herb Gardner's A Thousand Clowns; that shuffle disappointed some theatre buffs who were already calling it A Thousand Kleins. THE SON ALSO RISES: The Irish Rep's revival of Da (Barnard Hughes's old Tony-winning role) will star Brian Murray, who played Hughes's son in the Broadway original.
At the WPA is another golden oldie, The Boys in the Band, bouncing back for a 25th anniversary resurrection starring David (The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me) Drake and directed by Kenneth Elliott. That landmark play plus two more comprise 3 Plays by Mart Crowley, just published by Alyson Publications, and a cocktail reception was thrown for the author at Morris Healy Gallery after the Boys bowed at the opening preview. Two of the four living members of its original nine-man castRueben Greene and Tony-winning Cliff (Lenny) Gormanshowed up with the producer of the movie version, Dominic Dunne, and Virgins and Other Myths' Colin Martin.
Elliott, best known for staging the works of Charles Busch (Red Scare on Sunset, The Woman in Question), will next helm a new oneThe Green Heart, a musical Busch adapted with Rusty Magee from the Elaine May-Walter Matthau black comedy, A New Leaf. By spring, it should be blooming at the Manhattan Theatre Club.