Playwright Austin Pendleton's Uncle Bob, which premiered in New York City in 1995, will receive an Off-Broadway revival at the Soho Playhouse this spring. A spokesman for the theatre told Playbill On-Line March 13 that the production, presented by the Rebellion Theatre Company, will begin rehearsals in late March and start previews April 12.
A company called Rebellion would seem the right troupe to present the provocative Uncle Bob. The taut, two-person drama was a bit of a succes de scandale when the Mint Theatre first produced it in Manhattan in early 1995. The title character is a fiercely intelligent and highly opinionated wash-out who now lives in a small Greenwich Village basement flat on the charity of his brother. Bob's only real connection to his family is with Josh, his jaded, slacker nephew. Between Bob's status as a failed former prodigy now suffering from perhaps willfully contracted AIDS and Josh's propensity to crash new cars and otherwise squander his potential, the two are perfect kindred spirits. Their mutual affection for each other, however, goes a little too far by play's end.
Pendleton is best known as an actor, with credits like The Diary of Anne Frank, Fiddler on the Roof and The Last Sweet Days of Isaac under his belt. He is currently essaying the title role in Richard II at the Frog and Peach company in NYC. He also has directed dozens of productions, including Say Goodnight, Gracie, The Runner Stumbles and The Little Foxes on Broadway.
Uncle Bob is Pendleton's second play. Before it, he wrote Booth, about the Booth theatrical family. His most recent work is Orson's Shadow, which has received productions at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the Williamstown Theatre Festival and the Westport Country Playhouse. After Uncle Bob played the Mint, it was produced at Steppenwolf, with Pendleton playing the title role.
No cast or director has been announced for the Soho Plahouse production. The last show at the venue, Strictly Personal, closed suddenly, March 11, after an extended run. —By Robert Simonson