Harold Pinter is apparently the playwright of the hour: Manhattan Theatre Club will follow the lead of the Roundabout Theatre Company (Ashes to Ashes) and the Atlantic Theater Company (Hothouse) and produce a double-bill of Pinter one-acts, The Lover and A Kind of Alaska, rounding out the current 1998-99 MTC season.
John Tillinger will direct the MTC Stage I pair of plays, whose cast is yet to be announced. The Lovers is about a middle-aged couple’s attempts to keep their marriage vital, and A Kind of Alaska, which had its New York premiere in 1984 at MTC, is the account of a woman who awakens after a 29-year sleep. The double bill begins previews May 4 and opens May 25 at MTC’s 55th Street location.
Also coming up this late-winter and spring 1999 from MTC:
*The nonprofit will “co-produce” the Broadway stand of Conor McPherson’s London’s hit, The Weir at the Walter Kerr Theatre, previewing Mar. 23 and opening April 1. A co-producer credit for a nonprofit in this case means MTC’s 20,000 or so subscribers will become a core audience for McPherson’s story of a lonely woman who comes to a remote country pub and encounters spirits. It’s not uncommon for theatre companies like MTC or the Roundabout to make out-of-theatre shows part of their subscription. The Weir’s producers are Thomas Viertel, Richard Frankel, Steven Baruch, Marc Routh, Jujamcyn Theatres and Turnstyle/Ambassador Theatre Group.
*Mike Ockrent (Crazy for You) will stage the Paris hit, La Terrasse, or The Terrace, closing the Stage II season at MTC. By special arrangement with Laura Pels, the comedy by Jean-Claude Carriere (The Mahabarata) begins previews May 18 and opens June 9. The new translation of the so-called existential farce is by Mark O’Donnell. The Ionesco/Sartre-style comedy involves the breakup of a couple and the frenzy of eager Parisians fighting to rent their apartment. *MTC’s previously-announced staging of Chay Yew’s Red, about an American author’s return to her native Communist China and her involvement in the Beijing Opera, begins preview Mar. 2 and opens Mar. 23 at Stage II. David Petrarca directs the co-production with Long Wharf Theatre.
*Stage I continues to host the New York premiere of Captains Courageous, the Musical, with music by Frederick Freyer, book and lyrics by Patrick Cook, direction by Lynne Meadow and musical staging by Jerry Mitchell. Treat Williams stars as Manuel, the Portugese fisherman who becomes the guiding force in a boy’s life. The Rudyard Kipling-inspired musical opens Feb. 16.
Manhattan Theatre Club's complex -- Stage I and Stage II -- is located at City Center, 131 West 55th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. Single tickets (Stage I, $50; Stage II, $36) can be reserved by calling (212) 581-1212.
MTC offers $20 student tickets for all performances and $15 general admission passes for Stage II, both subject to availability.
-- By Kenneth Jones