PBOL'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, April 3-9: The Country Wife

ICYMI   PBOL'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, April 3-9: The Country Wife Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama on April 5. It was not an altogether surprising choice—the play won some of the best reviews of the season—though that segment of the theatre community that takes awards seriously wrung its hands because the unusual tale of a German transvestite did not have a sufficiently American storyline, something the Pulitzer rules suggest the winner ought to possess. The segment of the theatre community that thinks of awards only in terms of the potential for financial gain they represent wondered anew that the good old Pulitzer, for all its prestige, ain't much of a rainmaker. Wife saw a bump at the box office, but not much of one.

What did producer David Richenthal, author Wright, star Jefferson Mays and director Moises Kaufman think? They thought it was time to go to Chicago, and announced that would visit the Goodman Theatre in January. Stops is D.C. and Seattle are also planned. The move arguably means the play will close by year's end. A replacement for Mays could be found, but most agree the task of recasting would be a formidable one; much of the play's reputation rests of the vaunted brilliance of his performance.

Other groups starting doling out prizes, too, making sure the term "awards season" doesn't become a misnomer. Among theme were the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Awards (where August Wilson's Gem of The Ocean was liked), the Steinberg New Play Award (Lynn Nottage's Intimate Apparel), and the Lucille Lortel Awards nominations, which favored Frozen, Valhalla, Bug, Caroline, or Change and Small Tragedy.

About Frozen, many observers have begun to suspect that time has run out for an expected Broadway transfer for the MCC Theatre hit. The Tony Awards cutoff is less than a month away and no new theatre or dates have been announced for the drama. Nothing is definite, either, for Mrs. Farnsworth, the politically charged A.R. Gurney comedy which opened to good reviews on April 7 at the Flea Theatre, and now looks poised for a commercial jump. But that play is not aiming for Tony glory, but rather wants to stick around until the Republican National Convention, which comes to Manhattan in August. Gurney's story tells of a WASP-y women desperate to write a tell-all tale about a dissolute college boy from a rich political family who got a girl in trouble at Yale some decades ago. No doubt Gurney, star Sigourney Weaver and director Jim Simpson simply want to make sure the GOP-ers have access to quality stage entertainment.

Broadway continued its spring schedule of an opening a week with Match, which brought Frank Langella (Fortune's Fool) another critical triumph. Playwright Stephen Belber wasn't as fortunate with the critics, who by and large gave his three-hander low marks. Elsewhere on Broadway, the British revival of Tom Stoppard's Jumpers began its stay.

Finally, Times Square turned 100 this year. The power The New York Times holds over the New York theatre is formidable. But it's downright terrifying when you consider that the paper gave its name to the neighborhood that most Broadway theatres call home (included two houses named after former Times drama critics). No wonder the old Grey Lady feels proprietary.