Can't get to Barrymore on Broadway before its announced closing of Oct. 19? Good news: the show has extended its run a few more days, to Nov. 2.
By then, Christopher Plummer will have played 12 previews and 240 regular performances in William Luce's Broadway bio of John Barrymore. The show, which netted Plummer the 1997 Best Actor (Play) Tony Award, had already been extended past an anticipated closing back in August.
Tour dates for Barrymore are anticipated, though as of Oct. 31, contracts have yet to be signed and producer Livent has yet to make an announcement. Word is that Plummer will likely rest up a couple of weeks before committing to doing a road tour. Nevertheless, Colorado's Denver Center Theatre is already announcing the show, with Plummer, for July 7-Aug. 2, 1998.
The production opened March 25 at the Music Box Theatre on West 45th Street. For tickets ($25-$55) and information, call (212) 239-6200. Outside NY metro area: (800) 432-7250. You can also order tickets on Playbill On-Line.
Produced by Livent Inc.'s Garth Drabinsky and directed by Gene Saks, the production toured the U.S. after opening to positive reviews at the Avon Theatre in Stratford, Ontario. Barrymore is a joint production of Stratford Festival Theatre and Livent. Plummer won not only the Tony, but a Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award for his performance as the great but volatile thespian. In the two-character Luce play, Plummer stars as John Barrymore, the once-great classical actor. It's now 1942 and he struggles to recreate his triumphant performance as King Richard III. Though ravaged by time and alcohol, he has lost neither his zest for life nor his passion for his art. Michael Mastro plays the unseen, off-stage prompter (named "Frank") who helps Barrymore recall his lines.
Luce is the author of another fact-based tour de-force, The Belle of Amherst, about Emily Dickinson. He has also been penned one-person shows about Lillian Hellman, Charlotte Bronte, Isak Dinesen and Zelda Fitzgerald.
Christopher Plummer appeared on Broadway in Beckett, The Lark, Othello and Macbeth and has won three Drama Desk, two Outer Critics Circles, a Theatre World, a London Evening Standard, and two Tony Awards. He's perhaps best known for playing Captain Von Trapp in the film of the musical The Sound of Music. His widely varied career includes singing the lead in a musical Cyrano on Broadway, supplying the mellifluous voice of the rhyming narrator in the Madeline children's videos, and portrayed a Shakespeare-spouting Klingon in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. He is so far the last actor to play Macbeth on Broadway.
Barrymore is the third of three views of troubled actor John Barrymore that Broadway has seen recently: Nicol Williamson played the same character in Jack: A Night on the Town With John Barrymore, which had a brief run in spring 1996 at the Belasco Theatre, and Barrymore's ghost figured prominently in the early 1990s comedy, I Hate Hamlet.