No Bway Move for Enigma Variations This Season; May Go to UK

News   No Bway Move for Enigma Variations This Season; May Go to UK Playbill On-Line has learned that Enigma Variations, starring Donald Sutherland at Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre, will not be coming to Broadway in April.

Playbill On-Line has learned that Enigma Variations, starring Donald Sutherland at Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre, will not be coming to Broadway in April.

After several good reviews and a positive reception from audiences, producers were described as enthusiastic about the show. In fact, last week there was speculation in Toronto that the producers of Enigma Variations might move the show to the Brooks Atkinson Theatre following its limited run in Toronto. However, this will not be the case.

"It will not be coming this season," a production spokesperson told Playbill On-Line. No further explanation was given.

While a Broadway move has been ruled out this season, the show could transfer to London, a possibility that has been discussed. One source close to the production said that if a London move took place, it "wouldn't be surprising."

Having started performances on Feb. 17, stars Donald Sutherland and John Rubinstein have consistently brought Toronto audiences to their feet during previews for Enigma Variations at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. As reported earlier, the show opened Feb. 24 and two of the city's four notices for the show the Toronto Star, the city's main circulation paper and the Toronto Sun tabloid gave the show favorable reviews. Subsequent notices in the Globe and Mail and the National Post were favorable and mixed, respectively.

The assumption last week was that if either of the last two reviews was very good the show might move to Broadway's Atkinson sometime in April. A call to producer Emanuel Azenberg's office in New York was not returned and a production spokesperson could not explain the producers' decision.

At the Royal Alexandra Theatre, the strictly limited engagement of Enigma Variations runs through April 1. The show is directed by award-winning stage, film and television director Anthony Page and designed by the legendary Ming Cho Lee. Enigma Variations was written by French playwright Eric Emmanuel Schmitt. The English language translation being used in Toronto was done by Roeg Sutherland, who is the son of Enigma Variations star Donald Sutherland from an earlier marriage to Francine Racette, one of the producers of the Toronto show.

In Enigma, Sutherland plays Abel Znorko, a reclusive Nobel Prize winning novelist who publishes a passionate and personal book of letters that earns universal praise. When a journalist, played by Rubinstein, is granted a rare interview, a cascade of twisting, shattering revelations links the two men in a pas de deux.

Playwright Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt is a French-born philosophy professor and author. Among his plays are Le Visiteur and La Nuit De Valognes. He has also translated and adapted the French-language productions of Nine, The Merchant of Venice and many other plays and musicals. In France, he is a best-selling and award winning novelist. He splits his time between Dublin and Paris.

Director Page has worked both on Broadway and the West End, helming productions of A Doll's House (seen on Broadway a few seasons ago, starring Janet McTeer), Three Tall Women, Uncle Vanya and A Delicate Balance. Page has also directed films starring Albert Finney, Nicol Williamson and Richard Burton.  On television, he has done many productions for BBC, NBC, CBS, HBO, Showtime and ABC.

Set designer Lee has designed internationally for 40 years and chairs the design department of the Yale School of Drama. Costume designer is Candice Cain, lighting designer is Robert Wierzel and sound designer is Jon Gottlieb.

Enigma Variations is produced by Francine Racette, Emanuel Azenberg, Duncan Weldon, Ira Pittelman, David & Ed Mirvish and The Mark Taper Forum/ Gordon Davidson.

Tickets range from $26.50 - $66.50. The show will run at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King Street West in Toronto. For more information, call (416) 872-1212 or (800) 461-3333, or by visiting www.mirvish.com.

-- By Murdoch McBride