Eric Bentley has translated and helped adapt many a Bertolt Brecht's play, but Pulse Ensemble's The Good Woman of Setzuan is a novelty even for him -- this version features music and lyrics by Michael Rice, with a book and additional lyrics by Bentley. A noted critic and translator, Bentley was recently inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame at the Gershwin Theatre.
Setzuan is set in a mythical town where a woman struggles to be good in an evil and corrupt society. She's rewarded by the Gods for her kindness but still must protect herself from greedy friends and townfolk.
Brecht, who would have been 100 years old Feb. 10, also wrote The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Galileo and Mother Courage.
Designing The Good Woman of Setzuan are Michael Kay (set), Herrick Goldman (lighting) and Deirdre Burke (costumes). Barry McNabb serves as choreographer, John Ogden as musical director. Brian Richardson, Hazen Anne Raymundo, Noel Johansen, Angelina Fiordellisi, Kwang Sung and Paula Roth lead the 39-member cast.
The Good Woman of Setzuan begins previews at the Pulse Ensemble, 432 West 42nd St., March 13, and opens March 18 for a run through April 5. For tickets call (212) 695-1596. -- By David Lefkowitz