Eve Ensler's latest work, Necessary Targets, which premiered in fall 2001 at Hartford Stage in Connecticut and opened Off-Broadway Feb. 28, will ends its commercial Off Broadway run April 21, it was announced April 11. The show began advertising "last weeks" April 10.
Producers brought the Bosnia-based, socio-political drama to Off-Broadway's Variety Arts, where it started previews Feb. 14. Ensler is best known for her theatrical phenomenon, The Vagina Monologues. By April 21, the show will have played 16 previews and 61 regular performances.
CSC's hit production of The Underpants has been mentioned as the Variety Arts' next tenant, though at press time a spokesperson for the show had nothing to report about a commercial transfer. Another possible candidate is a new, as yet-unnamed drama by Thomas McCormack about a family owned publishing house, to be produced by Benjamin Mordechai. A recent casting notice listing the play (then called Press) as being bound for the Variety Arts, with previews beginning on or about June 11.
Mordechai's office could not confirm plans for the play. However, McCormack told Variety April 12 that the work would reach the Variety Arts. McCormack, 70, is the retired CEO of St. Martin's Press.
* The Off-Broadway cast features Shirley Knight (as J.S.) and Catherine Kellner (Melissa), alongside Diane Venora (Zlata), Alyssa Bresnahan (Jelena), Sally Parrish (as Azra, who took over for Rosemary Murphy in rehearsals), and Maria Thayer (Nuna), all of whom appeared in the Hartford staging. New to the New York cast is Mirjana Jokovic, taking over for Marika Dominczyk as Seada. Hartford Stage artistic director Michael Wilson again directs.
Targets is based on interviews Ensler conducted, Anna Deveare Smith-like, with women who survived the atrocities and warfare which reigned during the 1990s in the states which made up the former Yugoslavia — a conflict which was known for the use of sexual violence against women as a war tactic. From these conversations, Ensler shaped a drama about two American women who, somewhat like the playwright herself, travel to Bosnia to help female victims confront their experiences. One character is a Park Avenue psychiatrist, the other a young writer. Targets was developed in Hartford Stage's Brand:NEW festival.
Knight is a veteran of The Vagina Monologues and also appeared on Broadway in Horton Foote's The Young Man From Atlanta, while Venora starred opposite Liev Schreiber in Hamlet (and once played Hamlet herself) and opposite Kelsey Grammar in Macbeth, and Murphy was last seen as one of the theatrical retirees in Noel Coward's Waiting in the Wings.
The production's New York producers are Harriet Newman Leve, Willa Shalit, Bob Boyett and Suze Orman in association with Melissa Howden, Dozoretz/Fonda/Mitchell and Berinstein/Teitelbaum. For tickets ($60) and information on Necessary Targets at the Variety Arts Theatre, 110 Third Ave., call (212) 239 6200.
—By Robert Simonson
and Kenneth Jones