Playwrights Horizons is negotiating to present T.S. Eliot's 1922 drama The Waste Land at The Liberty Theatre on 42nd Street in New York - the first time this Broadway-size theatre (900 or so seats) will have been used for a legitimate production since 1932.
The Waste Land could also be the first production directly for Broadway for Playwrights Horizons, a prominent Off-Broadway production company, though the precise status of the Liberty was not firm.
The theatre, which served as a vaudeville house and them a film theatre for six decades, has not been renovated -- though that quality apparently appeals to PW producers, who reportedly like the atmosphere for Eliot's rarely-performed expression of post-World War I disillusionment.
Eliot wrote many plays on religious themes, including Murder in the Cathedral, The Family Reunion and The Cocktail Party, though contemporary audiences know him better for his novelty book of poems, "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats," adapted as the musical Cats.
Deborah Warner is scheduled to direct The Waste Land, according to a production spokesman.The theatre is located on the south side of West 42nd Street at number 234, two doors down from Disney's New Amsterdam restoration. Playwrights Horizons operates from a much smaller Off-Broadway space two blocks west, at 416 West 42nd Street on Theatre Row.
-- By Robert Viagas and Louis Botto