Mrs Feuerstein was having as much success in New York as she had in Los Angeles, but then the winter doldrums set in, and she's cut her extended stay short. The world premiere of Murray Mednick's drama was to have run at the Chashama Theatre through Jan. 27, but the show will now close Jan. 13. Before the initial extension, performances were originally set to end Dec. 16. Roxanne Rogers (Moon City, Savage in Limbo) directs, as she did in Los Angeles.
Mednick was inspired to write Mrs. Feuerstein after reading an excerpt in "Hitler's Willing Executioners" that described wealthy woman Frieda Wohl eating finger sandwiches and drinking champagne while watching her husband Max shoot 50 Jewish men in a town square. In the play, vengeful Mrs. Feuerstein, a creative writing teacher at a private school, writes a lesbian fantasy sequence with Frida, wife of a German American faculty member named Max, in a play-within-a-play. The incident draws the two together, but threatens Feuerstein's sanity.
An Off- and Off-off-Broadway pioneer in the 1960's and '70's, Mednick wrote The Hawk, The Hunter, Sand, Are You Lookin' and The Deer Kill, winning a 1970 Obie Award for Outstanding Play. In the late 70's, he formed the Padua Playwrights Workshop and Festival in Los Angeles. Giving something back to their founder, Padua Playwrights Productions produced Mrs Feuerstein in Los Angeles as a part of their all Mednick season. They plan to bring Mednick's Joe and Betty to New York in 2002.
Repeating their Los Angeles roles are Maria O'Brien as Mrs. Feuerstein and Drama Critics Circle Award winner Lynnda Ferguson (Private Lives, Dangerous Liaisons). Also in the cast Daniel Ahearn, David Little Samantha Quan and Kevin Shinick.
The design is by a different group than in Los Angeles — Michelle Malavet (sets), Jeremy Morris (lighting) and Harwood Lee (costumes). O'Lan Jones composed the original score. Tickets are $15. The Chashama Theatre is located at 135 West 42nd Street. For reservations, call (212) 591-1343.
— By Christine Ehren
and David Lefkowitz