New York Still Waiting For A Done Dealer

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As of Dec. 19, it's still too early to tell what path Dealer's Choice, which had an acclaimed mounting at the Long Wharf Theatre in October, will take on its way to New York.

As of Dec. 19, it's still too early to tell what path Dealer's Choice, which had an acclaimed mounting at the Long Wharf Theatre in October, will take on its way to New York.

Patrick Marber's play was directed by David Esbjornson, artistic director of Off-Broadway's Classic Stage Company (CSC).

Esbjornson told Playbill On-Line that the author was originally supposed to be directing the play at Long Wharf, and he, Esbjornson, was called in with just one week to get the company together and ready show's the physical production. "We also ended up with a week less rehearsal time," Esbjornson said.

The earliest anything might happen with the play in New York is March, since Esbjornson is busy overseeing a Juilliard one-act directors' project at CSC to be followed by February rehearsals for a March 1997, Kennedy Center-endowed production of Migdalia Cruz's Another Part Of The House, which adapts Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba. Also, Liz McCann, producer for Dealer's Choice, is out of town through Jan. 8, and Marber is at the Royal National Theatre in London readying the production of his latest play. Esbjornson said he didn't know at this point whether Choice would target a Broadway or Off-Broadway house.

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 Eveing 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.

Author Patrick 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.

For its Long Wharf run, which ended Nov. 10, Dealer's Choice had sets by Hugh Landwehr, costumes by Elizabeth Clancy, and lighting by Francis Aronson.

-- By David Lefkowitz

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