Like nearly a dozen other New York shows, the Off-Broadway comedy Strictly Personal was set to shutter at the end of last year. But at the last minute, the producers decided to stay the executioner and keep the show going at least one more week, through Jan. 7.
That week has now turned into two months and counting, with the show reaching performance number 150 on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 25. Jake Feinberg's play began previews Oct. 17, 2000 and opened Nov. 8 at the SoHo Playhouse.
A few of cast changes have occurred in the comedy, which most recently added Celia Tackaberry, best known for playing the Margaret Dumont-type role in The Cocoanuts a few seasons back. According to a press spokesperson, other performers now include Hayden Adams, Mike Bachmann, Daniel Cantor, Laurie Dawn, Denise Wilbanks, Andrea Powell and Angela Roberts.
For two New York City residents, the only way back to love after a disastrous marriage is through the New York Magazine personals section, or so says Feinberg's comedy, which follows the dating woes of two New Yorkers, middle-aged Jewish lawyer Dan and his next door neighbor Lori, who, at the merciless hands of their friends, reenter the singles scene after their divorces. With help from the New York Magazine personal ads, they kiss a lot of frogs before they find their true loves.
A former stand up comedian, Feinberg received an Honorable Mention at the 1998 McLaren Memorial Play competition and subsequent Equity showcase for Strictly Personal. Actress and choreographer Donna Drake directs. As a performer, she was nominated for an Emmy and received a Theatre World Award. Her credits include the original production of A Chorus Line, Sophisticated Ladies, Woman of the Year, The 1940's Radio Hour and Wind in the Willows. The artistic director of the Illyria Theatre Company, Drake recently directed Splendora at the Chelsea Playhouse.
The design team is George Xenos (sets), Michael Gilliam (lighting) and Carolyn Birks (costumes). Brian Klevan Schneider is the stage manager.
Tickets are $45. The SoHo Playhouse is located at 15 Vandam Street at Sixth Avenue. For reservations, call (212) 239-6200.
- By David Lefkowitz
and Christine Ehren