Audiences are dying to get into Off-Broadway's The Dead, and Playwrights Horizons is giving in, but the newly-announced two-week extension to Nov. 28 will only accommodate those on a waiting list.
That list for the subscription house is filled up, according to a spokesman. There are still no tickets available for the public at large. The six-week run was sold out prior to its Oct. 1 first preview.
Audiences will now have to wait and see what producers Gregory Mosher and Arielle Tepper decide about the possibility of James Joyce's The Dead (the official title) coming back to life in a commercial transfer. Horizons is producing the Off-Broadway run "by special arrangement" with the pair. Reviews are expected within the week.
The cast remains the same for the extension.
* The new Joyce-inspired musical by Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey officially opens Oct. 28. Headliners Blair Brown and Christopher Walken (as unhappy wife and husband) helped sell out the run, which was originally announced to Nov. 14.
The Dead is the tale of a wife who conjures the past to reveal an aching unhappiness in her marriage. The story, drawn from Joyce's collection, "Dubliners," is set at the Christmastime party of Gabriel's music-loving aunts. A song sung at the holiday party revives wife Gretta's buried memories of a boy she loved as a teenager and who died young. As husband Gabriel listens to Gretta relate the tale of her early love, he realizes a man he never knew has had a grip on his wife's imagination for years. Gabriel grapples with the revelation that the dead -- even the unknown dead -- never release their hold on the living.
The combination of Joyce's classic story and a cast that includes Christopher Walken ("The Deer Hunter") and Blair Brown prompted theatregoers to flock to the Off-Broadway Horizons box office.
Film actor Walken ("Pennies from Heaven," in which he danced and sang) and Brown (known for TV's "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" and Broadway's Cabaret and Arcadia) will be the Irish husband and wife, Gabriel and Gretta Conroy, in the new Richard Nelson-Shaun Davey adaptation. Nelson also directs, along with Jack Hofsiss.
Joining Walken and Brown are former Side Show Tony Award nominees Emily Skinner and Alice Ripley as Mary Jane and Molly Ivors, respectively, Tony Award-winner Daisy Eagan (grown up now, since her Tony win in The Secret Garden) as Rita and Young Julia, two-time Tony-winner Stephen Spinella (Angels in America) as Freddy Malins, Tony nominee Sally Ann Howes (1963's Brigadoon revival, "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang") as Aunt Julia and Nixon (famous as the singing voice of Audrey Hepburn in the film "My Fair Lady") as Aunt Kate.
The 13-performer company also includes Brian Davies (the original Hero of A Funny Thing Happened...) as Mr. Browne, Paddy Croft (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and 1999's Night Must Fall) as Mrs. Malins, Dashiell Eaves (the recent revivals of 1776 and The Sound Music) as Michael, performance artist John Kelly as tenor Bartell D'Arcy and Brooke Sunny Moriber (Parade) as Lily.
Nelson's grasp of the British sensibility and subjects is well-known to followers of his work, Goodnight Children Everywhere, Some Americans Abroad and Two Shakespearean Actors. Nelson has been a director in New York and London, recently staging his own Goodnight Children Everywhere at Playwrights and Kenneth's First Play (written with Colin Chambers) for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
-- By Kenneth Jones
and Robert Simonson