The Oct. 21 performance of the Manhattan Theatre Club production of Shelagh Stephenson's London play, An Experiment With an Air Pump, has been canceled. A press spokesperson said star Daniel Gerroll has fallen ill and lost his voice. Several more shows may be canceled and the Oct. 26 official opening will likely be postponed.
Air Pump, described as both a witty social satire and a romantic tragedy, opens the Manhattan Theatre Club's 1999-2000 season. The play, which began performances Oct. 5 at Stage I, is about two families and the collision of science and morality. Spanning two centuries, the play's setting is a house in Newcastle upon Tyne, in the two different eras, 1799 and 1999.
Stephenson, whose first stage play, The Memory of Water, had its New York debut at MTC in 1998-99, wrote radio plays for the BBC before turning to the stage. Her third play for the stage, Ancient Lights, for London's Hampstead Theatre, has been delivered, and she continues to be under commission to London's Royal National Theatre.
Doug Hughes, former associate artistic director of MTC (1981-83) and now artistic director of Long Wharf Theatre, directs a cast that includes Christopher Duva (the Public's recent Tartuffe), Linda Emond (The Dying Gaul, MTC's Nine Armenians), Daniel Gerroll (High Society, Scotland Road, A Madhouse in Goa), Jason Butler Harner, Seana Kofoed (MTC's The Memory of Water, Broadway's recent Night Must Fall), Clea Lewis, (Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight) and Ana Reeder (New Group's Some Voices). Lewis (Audrey of TV's "Ellen") replaces the previously announced Heather Goldenhersh.
City Center is at 131 W. 55th Street. For ($20-$50) ticket information, call CityTix at (212) 581-1212. For other MTC information, call (212) 399-3030. -- By Kenneth Jones
and Robert Simonson