After a successful run at Connecticut's Long Wharf Theatre, Allan Knee's romantic drama, Syncopation, now embarks on the second half of its world premiere. The show began previews Jan. 8 at New Jersey's George Street Playhouse, and the Long Wharf/George Street co-production officially opens in NJ Jan. 12 for a run through Feb. 6.
Long Wharf's Greg Leaming directs the play, which travels to George Street in exchange for the Playhouse's production of Anne Meara's Down the Garden Path (which ended its run there Dec. 19). After that, a commercial New York production is likely to follow for Syncopation. Daryl Roth is on board as producer, currently looking at the Century Theatre as a possibility for the spring (The Exact Center of the Universe closed there, Jan. 9). Sources say the show will most likely come to Jewish Repertory Theatre in late February before attempting a commercial run at a midtown or downtown space.
"Right now there are a lot of ifs," Knee told Playbill On-Line, "but it's a good time for me, with many good things happening. I think Syncopation is getting a wonderful production, and I really feel blessed with it -- and I rarely say that. Long Wharf really threw their heart and soul into it."
David Chandler (A Question of Mercy) and Lorca Simons (Collected Stories) star in the show, which played at Long Wharf Nov. 16-Dec. 19.
A two-person romantic drama set in 1911 Manhattan, Syncopation is the story of Henry (Chandler) and Anna (Simons), unlikely lovers drawn to one another by dance. As they practice their skills together, the two fall in love. Knee is the author of The Man Who Was Peter Pan, Late Nite Comic, Second Avenue Rag and Shmulnik's Waltz. Chandler, a veteran of Long Wharf's Mercy, which traveled to London, appeared on Broadway in Death of a Salesman. Simons played Lisa opposite Uta Hagen in Collected Stories and in the first national tour of Three Tall Women.
Jeffrey Lunden composed the score for the choreography by Willie Rosario. The design team includes Judy Gailen (sets), Jess Goldstein (costumes), Dan Kotlowitz (lighting) and Fabian Obispo (sound).
Knee's agent, Bruce Ostler told Playbill On-Line plans are also underway to do a workshop of Knee's musical, Little Women in the fall. Randall Wreghitt, Dani Davis and Jason Howland have optioned the work, penned with composers Kim Oler and Alison Hubbard. In October, Willy Falk and Jean Louisa Kelly participated in a York Theatre reading of the musical, which won the 1998 Richard Rodgers Development Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
For tickets to Syncopation at George Street Playhouse, located at 9 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ, call (732) 246-7717.
-- By Christine Ehren and David Lefkowitz