PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, May 13-20: Woody Allen to Return to Broadway; David Hyde Pierce to Direct

News   PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, May 13-20: Woody Allen to Return to Broadway; David Hyde Pierce to Direct Evenings of one-acts were once a relative commonplace on Broadway. During the Golden Age, the Great White Way had room for dramas, comedies, musicals, farces, revues and concerts. Why not a collection of short plays? Some notable examples included Robert Anderson's You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running, George Furth's Twigs, Terrence McNally's Bad Habit and Morning, Noon and Night by McNally, Leonard Melfi and Israel Horowitz.

Woody Allen
Woody Allen Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

I can't remember the last time such an entertainment was chanced on Broadway. And, it would probably have taken a talent as bankable as Woody Allen to get producers to back a one-act fest again. Allen's latest stage work, called Honeymoon Motel, will be part of an evening called Relatively Speaking. Joining him are Elaine May, who was also part of the Woody Allen-anchored one-act triptych Death Defying Acts, which played Off-Broadway in 1995. Her new play is titled George Is Dead.

The youngster in this crowd (at 53) is Ethan Coen, the filmmaker who only recently established a reputation as a playwright, penning one-acts for the Atlantic Theatre Company. Now he will get his Broadway debut with a script called Talking Cure. John Turturro, who has a history with the Coen Brothers, will direct the production. Julian Schlossberg, who tends to show up on Broadway whenever there's an Elaine May play to be done, will produce with Letty Aronson.

Relatively Speaking is scheduled to begin at a Broadway theatre to be announced in September with an official opening in October.

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The George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ, has an interesting project in its future, with stars on both sides of the footlights.

David Hyde Pierce
photo by Joan Marcus

The company's 38th season will be dedicated to the memory of playwright Arthur Laurents, who died recently. Laurents saw many of his later plays debut at the George Street. The fall/winter season will begin with the world premiere of the new musical It Shoulda Been You, which features book and lyrics by Brian Hargrove and music by Barbara Anselmi. Actor David Hyde Pierce will direct a cast led by Tyne Daly. "A musical comedy for anyone with parents," the piece tells of a mixed marriage that is visited by a tempest or two in the form of mothers-in-law and an ex-boyfriend.

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Lombardi, Eric Simonson's biographical Broadway play about Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, will close on Broadway this weekend. But it's already made plans for its regional theatre debut. Where? Where else? Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. (Hey, if Green Bay had a major regional theatre, it would be there.)

Rep Resident Acting Company Member Lee E. Ernst will take on the role of Lombardi in the Oct. 11-Nov. 13 staging.

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The 56th Annual Village Voice Obie Awards, considered by many to be Off-Broadway's highest honor, were presented May 16 at Webster Hall in the East Village.

Very rarely do the winners here match up with those of any other theatre awards body. And such was the case again this year. The Best New American Play Obie Award went to The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Kristoffer Diaz's wrestling drama, which was seen at Off-Broadway's Second Stage Theatre in May 2010.

A Lifetime Achievement award was given to Repertorio Espanol and F. Murray Abraham was honored for Sustained Excellence of Performance. Austin Pendleton was honored for his direction of Three Sisters (Classic Stage Company), and Roger Rees and Alex Timbers won for their work on Peter and the Starcatcher.

Christian Litke and Terence Archie in <em>Chad Deity</em>.
Christian Litke and Terence Archie in Chad Deity. Photo by Joan Marcus
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