The premiere of Terrence McNally's new drama, Corpus Christi, has been postponed to next season at the Manhattan Theatre Club, the New York Times reported.
Instead, the MTC will present two New York premieres: Patrick Marber's London drama, Dealer's Choice, which had been seeking a Broadway theatre since October, and Kia Corthron's Seeking the Genesis.
McNally won the Tony Award for Best Play two years in a row: in 1995 for Love! Valour! Compassion! (which originated at MTC) and in 1996 for Master Class. McNally wrote the book for the hit Toronto musical, Ragtime, which is scheduled to come to Broadway, also in the 1997-98 season. The new play is set in Corpus Christi, TX, which is McNally's home town. This will be the ninth play by McNally to be produced by MTC.
Dealer's Choice, about a poker game with high emotional stakes, will now open Off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club's Stage II. Previews begin March 18. In Dealer's Choice, Stephen, Mugsy, Sweeney, Frankie and Carl meet for their weekly poker game in the basement of Stephen's restaurant. When Ash, a professional gambler, wants his due, the friendly card game takes an unexpected turn.
Presented by London's Royal National in 1995, the show won the London Evening Standard Award, the Writers Guild of Great Britain Award, and a Laurence Olivier Award Nomination. The play was also presented in July as part of the Alliance Theatre's Arts Festival in Atlanta to coincide with the Olympics. Marber has done much of his work to date for radio and television, though he did recently direct Dennis Potter's Blue Remembered Hills for the Royal National Theatre.
John Tillinger will directDealer's Choice, which debuted at the Royal National Theatre in 1995 and had its U.S. premiere at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven this past fall.
Corthron's drama, Seeking the Genesis, about a mother trying to decide whether to treat her hyperactive child with drugs, is scheduled to begin performances May 20 in the same space.
The rescheduling of the McNally play was the third high-profile postponement in two days. On Jan. 9, it was announced that Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical Whistle Down the Wind on Broadway and Tony Kushner's new drama Henry Box Brown at London's Royal National Theatre would not be ready in time for the 1996-97 season.
Here's the remaining season schedule for the Manhattan Theatre Club:
Nine Armenians: Leslie Ayvazian's drama closes Jan. 12.
Psychopathia Sexualis: Daniel Sullivan directs John Patrick Shanley's newest comedy, about a man, his-bride-to-be, his friends and his psychiatrist. Starring Edward Herrmann, Marg in, Jon Lovitz, Andrew McCarthy and Park Overall. (Prev. Jan. 28, Op: Feb. 26)
The Green Heart: Musical comedy by Charles Busch (book) and Rusty Magee (music & lyrics). Directed by Kenneth Elliott, Heart tells of a ne-er-do-well playboy and a rich but shy botanist, leading to romance, marriage -- and murder. Heart will play at the Variety Arts Theatre on 13th Street (prev. Feb. 25, 0p: April 1).
Collected Stories: Lisa Peterson directs Donald Margulies' newest play, about an aging writer and her fresh young protege. (Prev. April 29, 0p: May 20)
Dealer's Choice: John Tillinger directs the winner of the London Evening Standard Award. In Patrick Marber's drama, a friendly poker game takes an unexpected turn with the intrusion of a professional gambler. The play was presented at the Long Wharf and as part of the Alliance Theatre's Arts Festival in Atlanta to coincide with the Olympics. (Prev. March 18, Op: April 8)
Seeking The Genesis: Kia Corthron's drama about an inner-city mother forced to put her hyperactive son on Ritalin. The show premiered at Chicago's Goodman Theatre. (Prev May 20; Op: June 10)
For tickets and information about Manhattan Theatre Club's season, call (212) 645-5590.
-- By Robert Viagas