As Warren Leight's Tony-winning Side Man wraps up its lengthy Broadway run this fall, with plans for a regional tour and London staging to follow, several U.S. theatres are doing their own, independent productions of the show, including Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre and Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati. Add Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre to that list; it's the third regional venue to open a Side Man this month, with performances having begun Sept. 17 for an opening Sept. 23 and a run through Oct. 17 at the Allen Theatre space.
Directed by Mladen Kiselov, former resident director of the Bulgarian National Theatre, this Side Man stars John Procaccino (Broadway's An American Daughter and Conversations With My Father) as jazzman Gene. Also in the cast are Drew Ebersole, Keith Scales, Eric Ray Anderson, Marianne Owen (as Terry), David Pickette and Cynthia Lauren Tewes -- yes, the same Lauren Tewes (sans first name) who played Julie on TV's "The Love Boat."
Leight's jazz-based drama celebrated its one year anniversary on Broadway March 3. The show tells how a man's love of jazz ruins his marriage -- and his wife's sanity.
In other ACT news, Susan Baird Trapnell will step down as the company's managing director in April 2000. Trapnell has spent 18 years with the Seattle company, ten as managing director.
Trapnell joined ACT in 1982 as an administrative manager, becoming managing director in 1989. Among her accomplishments at the theatre were her successful $33.4 million dollar fund-raising campaign and subsequent move of the company to its new facility at Kreielsheimer Place. Trapnell also served as a president and member of the Washington State Arts Alliance, as a peer panelist and on-site theatre evaluator for the National Endowment for the Arts and as a board member of the Downtown Seattle Association and University Preparatory Academy. In 1997, she received the "Rudy" Award for her contributions to the Seattle community. Trapnell's final fall season started with the world premiere thriller by David Wiltse, Temporary Help (Aug. 13-Sept. 12), to be followed by Side Man (Sept. 17-Oct. 17) and Communicating Doors by Alan Ackybourn (Oct. 22 - Nov. 21). ACT has an unusual May-November season, a spokesperson told PBOL, because the theatre was originally founded to offer a program of shows when Seattle Rep was in its off-season.
A Contemporary Theatre is on the web at http://www.acttheatre.org. For tickets and information call (206) 292-7676.
-- By David Lefkowitz & Christine Ehren