Omnium-Gatherum Will Bow Off-Broadway at the Variety Arts

News   Omnium-Gatherum Will Bow Off-Broadway at the Variety Arts Omnium-Gatherum, the topical drama by Theresa Rebeck and Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros, which recently caught fire as the hit of the 2003 Humana Festival at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, will have its New York premiere at Off-Broadway's Variety Arts Theatre, said David Rockwell, who will design the sets for the new show.

Rockwell, speaking at the Tony Awards nominees luncheon, said the show will come in this fall with the director it had in Louisville, Will Frears, and much of its Actors Theatre of Louisville cast, including Kristine Nielsen. Rockwell's set will differ from what was seen in Kentucky. Rockwell is a Tony nominee this spring for his work on Hairspray.

The lead producer of the New York mounting is Robert Cole.

The overall plan for the play, a spokesman for Rebeck previously told Playbill On-Line, is to open it at several theatres across the nation at roughly the same time, while allowing the New York staging to be the first out of the gate. Some of the regional houses interested in the script want to open their seasons with Omnium.

Omnium depicts a contentious dinner party, possibly taking place in hell. Among the guests are characters who resemble such turbulent (and talkative) social forces as journalist Christopher Hitchens, homemaker mogul Martha Stewart, novelist Tom Clancy and Palestinian-American educator and author Edward Said. The play is described as "An urgent, impassioned and hilarious conversation about the implications of the Sept. 11 attacks and beyond."

Will Frears directed a Louisville cast which included Kristine Nielsen, Dean Nolen, Phillip Clark and Edward J. Hajj. Rebeck is the author of such plays as The Butterfly Collection, The Family of Mann and Spike Heels. She has often been produced at Playwrights Horizons, which has not yet announced its 2003-04 season. Her monologues-driven play, Bad Dates, premieres at PH in June.

Gersten-Vassilros' work has frequently been seen at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company. One play, My Thing of Love, reached Broadway in 1995, where it lasted a mere 12 performances, despite a cast headed by Laurie Metcalf.