The Off-Broadway debut of the West End hit, Richard Nelson's Madame Melville, will officially open May 3 at the Promenade Theatre, after previews from April 10. Joely Richardson stars opposite former child film star Macaulay Culkin. Culkin is the only member of the UK cast to make the journey over. Richardson's role was played by Irene Jacob in London.
Madame Melville opened at the Vaudeville Theatre Oct. 18, 2000, following previews from Oct. 7. It closed March 11.
Richardson has appeared in such films as "The Patriot," "101 Dalmatians," and "Event Horizon." A member of the British Redgrave-Richardson theatre family, her grandfather was Sir Michael Redgrave, her parents Vanessa Redgrave and Tony Richardson, her aunt Lynn Redgrave and her sister Natasha Richardson.
In the memory play, Culkin is Carl, a 15-year-old attending The American School in Paris in 1966. His student-teacher relationship with his literature instructor, Claudie Melville, a thirty-something French woman, turns sexual and intense over a 24-hour period. A sexually-free neighbor, Ruth, an American violinist, adds color to the experience. Robin Weigert (of Nelson's Goodnight Children Everywhere is Ruth). The intermissionless play, directed by the author, has a few theatrical surprises along the way.
Now 19, Culkin became a phenomenon in the early 1990s with starring roles in films including "Home Alone," "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York," "My Girl," "The Good Son" and "Richie Rich." Culkin's last film role was in 1994's "Getting Even with Dad." Madame Melville is produced be Gregory Mosher, Ostar Enterprises, Ben Sprecher, Julian Schlossberg, William P. Miller and Ted Tulchin.
Designers are Thomas Lynch (whose set is an efficient Paris flat with bookshelves and ratty furniture), Scott Myers (sound), Susan Hilferty (costume) and Jennifer Tipton (lighting).
The Promenade Theatre is at Broadway and 76th Street. For ticket information, call (212) 580-1313.
—By Robert Simonson
and Kenneth Jones