Nielsen Is Hopeful Durang's Mrs. Bob Cratchit Will Get Wild Ride in New York

News   Nielsen Is Hopeful Durang's Mrs. Bob Cratchit Will Get Wild Ride in New York Kristine Nielsen, the actress who tore through a dysfunctional beach house in Christopher Durang's Betty's Summer Vacation and is currently playing a frenzied end-of-the-world hostess in Omnium Gatherum, is hopeful that New York will soon see her in another outsized role: the title part in Durang's holiday sendup, Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge.

The show played at Pittsburgh's City Theatre Nov. 7-Dec. 22, 2002. Nielsen, who won an Obie Award for her performance in Betty's Summer Vacation, portrayed the fed-up wife of Scrooge's clerk in what was billed as "an outrageous new holiday comedy." The piece was directed by Tracy Brigden.

"They are talking about trying to push for [a New York production] very strongly," Nielsen told Playbill On-Line. "I think it's a wonderful script and I love Chris Durang as you can tell from my resume." The actress said the directors of City Theatre recently took in Omnium Gatherum.

One possible stumbling block to a Gotham mounting is the size of the cast, which numbers ten. Eight characters is considered the affordable limit for today's nonprofits. Another concern is timing. "It's so seasonal, you have to get people to commit to it next summer to know that they'll do it at Christmastime," explained Nielsen. "My hope is that it's very much alive. I would like to bring it to New York. We are pursuing it. The play is very, very mean and very, very funny."

In Mrs. Bob Cratchit, an inept ghost tries to shepherd Scrooge through his past, but gets lost along the way. In the meantime, Mrs. Bob Cratchit is disgusted with husband Bob's penchant for bringing home foundlings (20 live in the root cellar).

"It's pretty much a romp, although I would read a moral of the story," director Brigden previously told Playbill On-Line. "It's basically, leave people alone. Don't try to change somebody into somebody else...don't try to make everybody good. It's more fun if there are bad people out there." *

Adrift in Macao, the tongue-in-cheek musical by Christopher Durang and Peter Melnick, which played Vassar College's Powerhouse Theatre as part of New York Stage & Film's 2002 summer season, may drift into an Off-Broadway house sometime during the 2003-04 season.

Producers Susan Dietz and Ina Meibach have an option on the piece, a musical send-up of film noir which starred musical veterans Michael Rupert, James Barbour and Liz Larsen during its Vassar run. Sheryl Kaller, who directed in 2002, would repeat her duties. The show may end up in a traditional house or possibly be fitted for a nightclub setting.

The story takes place at the "Casablanca"-esque Macao Surf and Turf Nightclub Gambling Casino, which is overseen by one Rick Shaw. There, sex, blackmail, danger and romance transpire.

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