Tony and Emmy Award-winning Hal Linden stars in The Gathering, a drama by Arje Shaw which officially opens at the Wadsworth Theatre in Los Angeles Feb. 4. The Wadsworth run, Feb. 3-20, comes prior to the play's Broadway opening in April. Directed by Rebecca Taylor, the play had an extended Off Broadway run in 1999, winning strong praise from both critics and audiences alike. The cast also features Sam Guncier, Deidre Lovejoy, Adam Rose and Colman Zeiglen.
The Gathering is scheduled to start previews April 10 and open April 24 at Broadway's Cort Theatre. Martin Markinson and Lawrence Toppall are producing The Gathering, in association with Diaspora Productions.
Set in 1985, The Gathering, a comedic family drama, explores the conflicts between grandfather, father and son which arise over the dinner table when they discuss President Ronald Reagan's planned visit to Bitburg, site of burial grounds for Nazi soldiers. The stakes are high in the discussion because the grandfather (Linden) is a Holocaust survivor and his son is a speechwriter for Reagan. Caught between them is the young lad, who is preparing for his bar mitvah.
Actor Linden, last Off Broadway in Visiting Mr. Green, won a 1971 Tony Award for playing patriarch Mayer Rothschild in The Rothschilds and has also appeared in the Madison Square Garden A Christmas Carol. He’s best known, however, for starring in TV’s police-station sitcom, “Barney Miller.” Regarding The Gathering, Linden said in a statement, “I am proud to return to Broadway in a vehicle so rich in ideas and emotion.”
The character of the grandfather was based on Shaw's father, who was the youngest of seven children and who fled Poland after the Nazi invasion of 1939. After weeks of traveling—much of it on his hands and knees—Shaw's father ended up in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where he met Shaw's mother. The family survived the war and returned, via cattle car, through Poland in 1946, to Bergen Belsen, the former concentration camp, now turned into a displaced person's camp. Wadsworth Theatre is located at 11301 Wilshire Blvd. in Brentwood. For tickets and information call Telecharge at (800) 233-3123.