Having extended David Mamet's American Buffalo through May 21, the Atlantic Theater Company has canceled what was to have been its last production in an all-Mamet season. Ghost Stories, a double bill made up of The Shawl and No One Will Be Immune has been taken off the theatre's schedule. An independent production is expected to rent the Atlantic Theatre in June and July.
Ghost Stories was scheduled to begin previews on May 16, for a June 1 opening, but was canceled when the demand for American Buffalo tickets stayed high. The Shawl was first performed at the Goodman Theater in 1985, and tells of a woman who turns into a psychic after her mother dies; No One is about a man's disturbing tale of why he forced a plane to return to its gate.
According to the new schedule, American Buffalo will complete the Atlantic Theatre season on May 21, roughly three weeks more than expected.
Atlantic Theatre's general manager Bardo Ramirez said the company is negotiating for a summer rental of the theatre, which is done every year. A deal will be announced in the near future. Ramirez said that the demand for theatre space is so high that no less than nine shows had expressed a strong interest in renting the Atlantic Theatre.
As reported earlier, American Buffalo is directed by Neil Pepe, and stars William H. Macy, Philip Baker Hall and Mark Webber. Macy co-founded the Atlantic Theatre with playwright Mamet. While Macy plays Walter Cole in this production, he originated the role of Bobby in the Goodman production of American Buffalo in October 1975. Macy returned as Bobby when the show re-opened at Chicago's St. Nicholas Theater, a theatre that he and Mamet built in 1972 together with writing partner Steven Schachter.
Macy originated roles for several of Mamet's original productions, including The Water Engine, Prarie du Chen, Oh, Hell and Oleanna. Macy's New York acting credits include Baby With the Bathwater, The Dining Room and Our Town. Having earned an Oscar nomination and an Independent Spirit Award as Best Supporting Actor for his role in the Coen Brothers' film, "Fargo," Macy is now featured in the feature film release, "Magnolia." His other films include "Happy Texas," "Pleasantville," "Psycho," "A Civil Action," "Boogie Nights," and the David Mamet films "Wag The Dog," "Air Force One," "House of Games," "Homicide," "Things Change" and "Oleanna."
Mamet's 1976 Obie Award-winning play, American Buffalo originally opened at Chicago's Goodman Theater. The story involves a trio of third-rate crooks who plan the theft of a coin collection.
Actor Philip Baker Hall started his career in the theatre, appearing in Donald Freed's Secret Honor (Drama Desk nomination), The Skin of Our Teeth with Helen Hayes, J.B., Gorky and All My Sons opposite Bull Pullman. Hall's major film credits include "The Insider" (Don Hewitt), "Magnolia," "The Cradle Will Rock," "The Talented Mr. Ripley," "The Rules of Engagement," "Lost Souls," "The Contender," "The House On The Hill," "Boogie Nights," "Air Force One," "The Rock," "Enemy of the State" and "Rush Hour."
His role in American Buffalo marks the professional theatrical debut for Mark Webber, who can be seen in Paramount Pictures' current release, "Snow Day." Nineteen years old, Webber has appeared in the Fox film "Drive Me Crazy," and the Fox Searchlight film "White Boys," directed by Sundance Film Festival award-winner Marc Levin. His independent film credits include "Edge City" and "Jesus' Son." Webber just filmed "The Animal Factory," with director Steve Buscemi, and is filming "Chelsea Walls," with director Ethan Hawke.
Director Neil Pepe has been the artistic director of the Atlantic since 1992. The design team for American Buffalo comprises set designer Kevin Rigdon, costume designer Laura Bauer and lighting designer Howard Werne. Rick Sordelet is the production's fight director.
Tickets are $45 for all performances. The Atlantic Theatre is located at 336 West 20th Street. For single tickets call Telecharge at (212) 239 6200. For membership information and/or group sales call (212) 645 1242.
-- By Murdoch McBride