Mrs. Robinson to Wave Goodbye to West End, Jan. 19

News   Mrs. Robinson to Wave Goodbye to West End, Jan. 19

After a 750 performance run, The Graduate is to close on Jan. 19, 2002, though it will be seen on Broadway, starring Kathleen Turner as Mrs. Robinson (she originated the stage role at the Gielgud) from April 2002.

The Graduate made a successful transition from cult film to the West End stage, and now stars Linda Gray, the model for Mrs. Robinson's leg in the iconic film poster. Bookings are currently as strong for Gray as they were for Turner, not least because of the public's memories of Gray in "Dallas," the 80s soap opera in which she played another middle-aged woman with a taste for the bottle and younger men, Sue-Ellen Ewing.

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The stage version of Mike Nichols' classic 1967 film The Graduate will play Baltimore, Toronto and Boston before graduating to Broadway. The three-city pre-New York tour on the London hit will begin Jan. 10 and last until March 3. The comedy stars Kathleen Turner as Mrs. Robinson, Alicia Silverstone as her daughter Elaine and Jason Biggs as Benjamin Braddock. The Broadway bow will begin previews March 15 and open April 4. No theatre has been announced. The Graduate will have a 10-day run at Baltimore's Mechanic Theatre, Jan. 10-20. Turner brought her Tallulah, once promised for Broadway, to the Mechanic a couple seasons back. The Graduate will then move on to Toronto (Jan. 23-Feb. 17) and Boston (Feb. 20-March 3).

Prior to the ramping of The Graduate for Broadway, actress Turner had been promised in a solo turn, Tallulah. The "Romancing the Stone," "Body Heat" and Indiscretions actress played the elegant, heavy-lidded Tallulah Bankhead in the show, which premiered in Chichester in 1997 and enjoyed a run at FL's Coconut Grove Theatre in 1999. Silverstone is best known for the film "Clueless" and for being a "Batman" Batgirl, while Biggs starred in "American Pie."

The Graduate is written by Terry Johnson, adapted from the original novel by Charles Webb and the motion picture screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry. The piece tells of a naive college graduate facing a hollow middle-class future (possibly "in plastics"). His secret dalliance with Mrs. Robinson, an older woman who seduces him, broadens his perspective but also, understandably, jeopardizes his relationship with her daughter.

Author Johnson also directs the London mounting, with sets by Rob Howell, lighting by Hugh Vanstone and sound by Mike Walker. The Graduate is produced in the West End (and on Broadway) by John Reid and Sacha Brooks. The show opened at the Gielgud April 5, 2000.

Turner originated the Mrs. Robinson role in April 2000 and caused a sensation by dropping a towel and appearing naked, albeit briefly and in dim lighting. After Turner came Jerry Hall, Amanda Donohoe, Anne Archer and, currently, Linda Gray. The part was first made famous by Anne Bancroft.

The Gielgud Box Office can be reached at 020 7494 5065

—by Theatrenow
and Robert Simonson