The much-publicized Westport Country Playhouse production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town, starring Paul Newman, will have an opening date of Dec. 4, after previews at Broadway's Booth Theatre beginning Nov. 22. James Naughton directs.
The play will be a limited run, lasting nine weeks, closing Jan. 26, 2003. Much of the cast will mirror Westport's, where Newman played the folksy Stage Manager, Jeffrey DeMunn and Jane Curtin were Mr. and Mrs. Webb, Frank Converse and Jayne Atkinson were Mr. and Mrs. Gibbs, Stephen Spinella played Simon Stimpson, Maggie Lacey was Emily Gibbs, Ben Fox was George Gibbs, Mia Dillon played Mrs. Soames, Jake Robards was Howie Newsome, and John Braden was Professor Willard.
This will be Curtin's second Broadway credit of the season, after her short stint in Noises Off. DeMunn was last seen on Broadway in The Price, also directed by Naughton, while Atkinson appeared in The Rainmaker. Lacey is currently Off-Broadway in the Keen Company's Three-Cornered Moon.
Our Town will be the first Westport production to transfer to Broadway in nearly 15 years, since the musical Mail. In days gone by, such Westport-to Manhattan transfers were common. Famous examples were Come Back Little Sheba and Butterflies Are Free.
The show closed as scheduled on June 22 at the Playhouse, earning respectable reviews. The New York Post has speculated that, in order for such a short run to be profitable, tickets would sell for $100—making the show an event production along the lines of the Kevin Spacey The Iceman Cometh of a few seasons back.
The Roundabout Theatre Company recently canceled its proposed staging of Our Town, citing as a reason the newly expensive actors salaries settled upon in the recent Actors' Equity negotiations.