PBOL'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, March 24-30: Pinter Profusion

News   PBOL'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, March 24-30: Pinter Profusion For the remainder of the year 2001, New York City will be flooded by the work of British dramatist Harold Pinter, in an artistic assault not seen here since David Hare opened three plays in one season in 1998-99. What is perhaps the playwright's most famous drama, The Caretaker, will open this fall on Broadway. The production will be the same one which opened in the West End last fall, starring Michael Gambon. Whether the other two stars, Rupert Graves and Douglas Hodge, are coming along for the ride is unclear, but its probably a safe bet that Patrick Marber will repeat his directorial duties. Meanwhile, producer David Richenthal (Long Day's Journey Into Night, The Crucible) has dished another show onto his already very full plate. He is assembling a new mounting of Pinter's Old Times, possibly to be helmed by David Leveaux.

Harold Pinter at an earlier age; Robert Sean Leonard and Robert Easton in The Invention of Love; Amy Sedaris in The Book of Liz.
Harold Pinter at an earlier age; Robert Sean Leonard and Robert Easton in The Invention of Love; Amy Sedaris in The Book of Liz. (Photo by <i>Love</i> by Paul Kolnick; <i>Liz</i> by Joan Marcus)

For the remainder of the year 2001, New York City will be flooded by the work of British dramatist Harold Pinter, in an artistic assault not seen here since David Hare opened three plays in one season in 1998-99. What is perhaps the playwright's most famous drama, The Caretaker, will open this fall on Broadway. The production will be the same one which opened in the West End last fall, starring Michael Gambon. Whether the other two stars, Rupert Graves and Douglas Hodge, are coming along for the ride is unclear, but its probably a safe bet that Patrick Marber will repeat his directorial duties. Meanwhile, producer David Richenthal (Long Day's Journey Into Night, The Crucible) has dished another show onto his already very full plate. He is assembling a new mounting of Pinter's Old Times, possibly to be helmed by David Leveaux.

But, before the above two productions even get started, Harry will be having a grand old summer uptown, where Lincoln Center will host The Almeida Theatre, The Royal Court of London and The Gate Theatre of Dublin's retrospective of nine Pinter works. Among the attractions: Ian Holm in The Homecoming; The Room and Celebration, starring Lindsay Duncan and directed by Pinter; and One for the Road, in which the man of the hour himself will star, just to show he can do everything. During intermission, he will be selling concessions. And look for him behind the wheel of your cab as you make your way home.

The weather may not be agreeing, but there are signs that spring has arrived in the Broadway theatres. Opening were frequent this week. Judgment at Nuremberg, an adaptation of Abby Mann's teleplay and screenplay about war guilt and responsibility, opened on March 26 to respectful, if not glowing, notices. The Don Schlitz Ken Ludwig musical, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer started previews March 27 at the Minskoff Theatre. And the reception of the March 29 opening of Lincoln Center Theater's mounting of The Invention of Love proved that the New York Times still likes its Tom Stoppard. Off-Broadway, the Drama Dept. production of the new Amy and David Sedaris play, The Book of Liz, received nary a discouraging word and promptly two weeks to May 20. In other Off-Broadway news, if looks as if Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero, now at Playwrights Horizons, will transfer to a commercial run.

Regional theatres have begun unveiling their 2001-02 season schedules. San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre will jump on the Pinter bandwagon, staging Celebration. Richard Nelson will be on hand to remount his James Joyce's The Dead and Constance Congdon's stage adaptation of Maxim Gorky's The Mother will star Olympia Dukakis. Altanta's Alliance Theatre will present one of the first regional productions of David Auburn’s current Broadway show, Proof.

In the Midwest, Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis will unveil the world premiere of playwright-in-residence James Still's Looking Over the President's Shoulder. The play focuses on the 21 years that Indiana native Alonzo Fields spent in the White House as the Chief Butler, and "the passing parade of history" he witnessed. Due north, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre will offer Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's The Front Page, Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie, and August Wilson's Jitney. The Last Five Years, the new musical by Jason Robert Brown, has long been announced for the Northlight Theatre in Skokie, IL. But, now it has a cast. Norbert Butz and Lauren Kennedy will be the singing marrieds in the world premiere, playing May 16-June 24. Finally, there was a indication this week of the wealth of talent that might flock to the theatre if a threatened screen actors' strike comes to pass this summer. The Pages of My Diary I'd Rather Not Read is a play most people have never heard of by a playwright, Eydie Faye, that equally as many people have never heard of, in a city, Los Angeles, not known as a theatre hotbed. Yet this tale of three young career women of disparate backgrounds struggling to make it in New York City is attracting the attentions of film actresses Drew Barrymore, Reese Witherspoon, Chloe Sevigny, Jennifer Love Hewitt and others. Who says this strike is a bad thing?

—By Robert Simonson