New York's Jean Cocteau Repertory Theatre opened its season with an On The Razzle that has dazzled critics and audiences enough to warrant an extension. Tom Stoppard's comedy, which began previews Aug. 20 and opened Aug. 21, was initially scheduled to run through Oct. 21 but will now play until Nov. 18. As with all Cocteau Rep shows, Razzle will play much of its run in repertory, in this case with Jean Genet's The Balcony, starting previews Oct. 8 and opening Oct. 10 for a run through Dec. 16.
On the Razzle is Stoppard's take on Viennese playwright Johann Nestroy's Einen Jux will er sich machen, the same source material that inspired Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker, which in turn inspired Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly!.
Cocteau Rep has previously produced such Stoppard works as Travesties, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Rough Crossing. Former producing artistic director Scott Shattuck, who directed the latter effort, also pilots Razzle.
The cast includes Cocteau stalwart Craig Smith and Tim Deak as the shopkeepers, as well as Marie-Elena Baldini, Harris Berlinsky, Marilyn Bernard, Christopher Black, Jason Crowell, Christopher Cusumano, Marc Diraison, Jennifer Lee Dudek, Jolie Garrett, Jason Hauser, Angela Madden, Marlene May, Neil Shah, and Elise Stone.
The rest of the season is as follows: € The Servant of Two Masters, the eighteenth-century Italian farce by Carlo Goldoni, directed by Jonathan Polgar, Dec. 3-Feb. 24, 2000.
€ Edward II, Bertolt Brecht's tale (translated by critic and playwright Eric Bentley) of the English king previously dramatized by Christopher Marlowe, directed by Karen Lordi, Jan. 21, 2000-April 20, 2000.
€ Medea, the classic Greek tragedy by Euripides, directed by Eve Adamson, April 7, 2000-May 21, 2000.
All shows and dates are subject to change. Call (212) 677-0060 for more information.
Jean Cocteau Repertory was founded in 1971 by Eve Adamson, in order to create a theatre with a rotating repertory of classic plays with a resident company of actors. Adamson was artistic director until succeeded by Robert Hupp in 1989; she remains a part of the company as its most prolific director.
-- By Sean McGrath & David Lefkowitz