Just as old theatres are said to have ghosts on their catwalks, New York's new Century Center Theatre opened March 16 with demons treading its stage -- Bruce Graham's Minor Demons, that is.
The play, which premiered at the Philadelphia Festival Theatre For New Plays in 1991, has since had productions at Long Wharf, Arizona Theatre Company and NY's Playwrights' Preview Productions (March 1996). The play received mixed reviews but pursued its open run because of significant film interest in the material. When the show closes April 13, it will have run 14 previews and 33 regular performances. Although there are no immediate plans for a regional production, production spokesperson Hugh Hayes told Playbill On-Line, "I think the play would do well regionally. It has the dynamics of a legal drama, which is a genre that has traditionally done well in regional and stock companies."
This commercial mounting (with the same cast/staff as at PPP) is produced by Blake Edwards and Tony Adams (of Victor/Victoria), Frances Hill and Sterling Productions with J.C. Compton and the Century Theatre. Richard Harden directs.
Reed Birney stars in the drama as a high-powered lawyer in recovery. He's thrust back into the limelight when representing a 16-year-old boy accused of murdering a female classmate. Steve Ryan plays the chief of police, a childhood friend and now adversary of the attorney. Also starring are Charlie Hofheimer as the boy and Amelia Marshall as the lawyer's love interest. Birney made his Broadway debut in 1977's Gemini and appeared in Mac Wellman's A Murder of Crows (1992)
Author Graham's Cheap Sentiment played in a co-production of the Philadelphia Festival Theatre For New Plays and George Street Theatre Feb. 1996. Sets for the show are by Patrick Mann, costumes by Alan Michael Smith, lighting by Jeffrey McRoberts, sound/music by Matt Balitsaris.
According to production spokesperson Hayes (of Cromarty & Co.), the new, 299-seat theatre at 111 East 15th St., is "absolutely gorgeous."
For tickets ($40) and information on Minor Demons through April 13, call (212) 239-6200.
--By David Lefkowitz