Not Ready for Prime Time: Jeff Daniels Pulls His Evening of One-Acts from Purple Rose Slate

News   Not Ready for Prime Time: Jeff Daniels Pulls His Evening of One-Acts from Purple Rose Slate In a theatre world where the term "scheduling conflicts" is euphemistic for artistic differences or undercooked work, the plainspoken actor-playwright Jeff Daniels did the unthinkable.

The film and stage actor who founded The Purple Rose Theatre Company in tiny Chelsea, Michigan, said his new collection of one-acts wasn't good enough to be seen yet, and pulled them from the Purple Rose's season.

Performances of The Fabulous Farkleberrys, a group of short comic pieces, were to have begun at the Equity theatre Sept. 25. A cast was announced, and shows were to continue to Nov. 30.

In a statement, Daniels said, "I'm disappointed that, as a playwright, I could not deliver the quality material worthy of The Purple Rose Theatre Company and its audience. I still have some new play ideas and will continue to write for future Purple Rose productions."

The company replaced the 2003-04 season-opener with Neil Simon's The Good Doctor, which begins performances a week later, Oct. 2, continuing to Dec. 20. Opening night is Oct. 9.

Purple Rose Theatre Company presents at its recently renovated home (a former garage) at 137 Park Street, Chelsea, Michigan, 60 miles west of Detroit, beyond Ann Arbor. Daniels' last original play, Across The Way, had its world premiere on the PRTC stage in October 2003 and was one of the top six finalists for the 2002 Best New Play Award by the American Theatre Critics Association.

His past original comedies and dramas (Shoe Man, The Tropical Pickle, Thy Kingdom's Coming and more) have been huge hits for the theatre, and for other theatres around the country. In particular, Escanaba in da Moonlight, a daffy, fantasy-laced comedy about hunters in northern Michigan, has been produced in regional and summer stock theatres and had a transfer to downtown Detroit.

Daniels is in New York filming "Imaginary Heroes" with Sigourney Weaver.

The PRTC production of The Good Doctor, directed by artistic director Guy Sanville, will feature a collection of Purple Rose favorite performers including Sandra Birch, Ryan Carlson, Terry Heck, Tobin Hissong, Paul Hopper and Tom Whalen, with the professional debut of Molly Thomas in this production.

For information about PRTC, which, in just over 10 years, has become one of the major regional theatres in Michigan, call (734) 433-ROSE or visit www.purplerosetheatre.org.