Off-Broadway's MET Offers Subscribers Talking Heads in Lieu of Postponed Providence

News   Off-Broadway's MET Offers Subscribers Talking Heads in Lieu of Postponed Providence The final selection of the Manhattan Ensemble Theatre season, Providence by Lorenzo DeStefano, has been postponed. In its stead, company subscribers will be offered seats at the upcoming star-studded Off-Broadway attraction, Talking Heads.

The postponement is actually a sign of artistic health, rather than administrative turmoil, for the company. MET's opening production, Hank Williams: Lost Highway, was such a critical hit, it extended, pushing back the entire season. What's more, certain parties believe the theatre's new offering, Golda's Balcony, featuring Tovah Feldshuh, also has extension possibilities. Something, therefore, had to give and it was Providence, a play drawn from Alain Resnais' 1970s film of the same name, which will now be part of the 2003-04 season, with Scott Schwartz directing.

Lynn Redgrave, Kathleen Chalfant, Daniel Davis, Christine Ebersole, Valerie Mahaffey, Brenda Wehle and Frances Sternhagen will star in the collection of Alan Bennett one-act plays being presented Off-Broadway under the title Talking Heads, at the Minetta Lane Theatre. The production begins March 22.

The works are broken up into Program A and Program B (three plays each) and are offered at a discount of $100 when bought together.

The characters in the plays include a minister's wife questioning the existence of God and finding Him in the arms of an Indian shopkeeper in Bed Among the Lentils; a reclusive woman who finds her way out into the wide world in Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet; a nosy spinster who winds up in jail after pushing into business not her own in A Lady of Letters and the middle-aged Graham, still living with his mother, who is put out by an old suitor who comes to claim her in A Chip in the Sugar.

Television viewers will remember the series as an often repeated feature on PBS. Bennett himself played the role of Graham on television. Talking Heads scripts were first made for the BBC, but have since been staged in the theatre many times, including at Los Angeles' Tiffany Theatre. Chalfant and Davis appeared in the L.A. engagement, as did Annette Bening, Tyne Daly and Swoosie Kurtz. Bennett is the author of Forty Years On, The Lady in the Van and his Oscar-nominated "The Madness of King George."

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Golda's Balcony, the Golda Meir-focused play by the author of Two for the Seesaw and The Miracle Worker, looks at the life of the famous Israeli Prime Minister. It previously had a production at Shakespeare & Co. in the Berkshires last summer. MET claims the production will be an entirely different affair from the one seen in Lenox, MA.

The role will be Feldshuh's most significant one in some time. Feldshuh was one of the leading New York stage performers of the 1970s. She was nominated for Tony Awards for Yentl in 1976, Sarava in 1979 and Lend Me A Tenor in 1989, and won an Obie Award in 1975. In recent years, she has appeared in a couple of one-person cabaret shows, Tovah: Crossovah! and Tovah: Out of Her Mind!. She played Talullah Bankhead in her own play, Tallulah Hallelujah! a couple seasons back and last year starred in the short-lived American premiere of Jonathan Wilson's Kilt Off-Broadway at The Directors Company.