From “Boxing Helena” to Pee-Wee Herman’s pal Jambi, disembodied heads have provided hours of entertainment fun. Now playwright William S. Leavengood continues the tradition with his macabre comedy, The Head, receiving its world premiere Nov. 3 at Off-Broadway’s Chelsea Playhouse. Previews began Oct. 25 for the limited run currently slated through Dec. 10.
Staged by Riverside artistic director Brian Feehan, The Head tells of an urbane scientist "who also happens to be a disembodied head. Of course, there is the requisite kidnapping by a dwarf, a giant, and a Pakistani mystic," reads the show's press release.David Young and Norma Langworthy are producing the show in association with Riverside, which picked the play for its 1999 National Founder’s Day New Playwrites [sic] Award.
In recent years, New York has seen Leavengood's Florida Crackers (Circle Rep) and The Preservation Society (Primary Stages), but mostly the playwright has worked regionally, especially in California and Florida, where the American Stage Theatre recently held a season-long reading series of Leavengood's plays. Florida Crackers, 17 Black, the farce, What Is Art? and several one-acts (including Day of the Onandaga and Space Hunter) were published in a Leavengood compilation, "Florida Bound," in 1994, by Holvoe Books. His latest project, the libretto for an epic musical titled Webb's City: The Musical, received its premiere at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Florida in June and will be revived at the Mahaffey Theater, November 2001.
Riverside Stage Company, which plays out of the Chelsea Playhouse, is devoted to developing and premiering new American plays. Last season they offered Carrin Beginning, by W. August Schulenberg. They opened the current season with Dan Castellaneta in his own solo, Where Did Vincent Van Gogh?
The Chelsea Playhouse is at 125 W. 22nd St. Tickets to The Head are $35. Call (212) 279-4200 for information or check out their webste at www.riversidestageco.com — By David Lefkowitz