Nichols' A Day In the Death of Joe Egg centers on a couple with a handicapped child. The parents concoct imaginary conversations and personality traits for the invalid as their own relationship becomes strained.
The title, as revealed in the comedic yet poignant play, refers to an expression: "My grandma used to say 'Sitting about like Joe Egg,' when she meant she had nothing to do." The characters in the 1967 work not only make up dialogue for their daughter but often address the audience directly in conversation and — creating a play within a play — act out a number of characters in scenes from their early dealing with the incapacitated child.
The design team features Es Devlin (sets and costumes) and Adam Silverman (lighting).
Izzard and Hamilton repeat the roles they played in the production at London's Comedy Theatre. Joe Egg marks the Broadway debut for Izzard who has played such New York stages as the Westbeth Theatre Center and P.S. 122 in his one-man stand-up shows. The Nichols' drama serves the thespian as a crossover piece, Izzard told Playbill On-Line. "It was sort of right time, right place and having come from comedy, but had a dramatic acting agent at a separate agency for years, I was pushing to just do dramatic pieces. Of course, I'm not top of the casting list; they don't say 'Hey, there's that transvestite comedian guy, he can play Hamlet and those things.' So, you really have to smash your way in and audition your ass off and all that." (Read the full interview Playbill On-Line's Brief Encounter section by clicking here.)
Many will remember his U.S. breakout performance in the HBO airing of his Dress to Kill in which he explained his inclination to cross-dress as being normal for an "executive transvestite." The Yemen-born Brit, however, is also a viable actor with many London stagings to his credits — among them the once-Broadway-bound Lenny Bruce bio of Lenny. His film turns include "Velvet Goldmine," "Shadow of the Vampire" and portraying Charlie Chaplin in "The Cat's Meow."
The original New York production of Joe Egg ran for 154 performances in 1968. Michael Blakemore directed Albert Finney and Zena Walker — who won a Tony Award for her portrayal. A 1985 revival starred Jim Dale and won a Tony Award for Stockard Channing. (Visit the Playbill On-Line feature called "Playbill Archives" for a periodic look back at the production's Broadway and Playbill history.)
Tickets ($40-$65) for A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg at the American Airlines, 227 West 42nd Street, are available by calling (212) 719-1300 or at the box office at the American Airlines Theatre at 227 West 42nd Street.