The Mandrake Root was to start March 8 at the Off-Broadway house where Tommy Tune's White Tie and Tails recently closed. Susan Dietz of Beverly Hill's Canon Theatre produces the play with Warner Shook directing. It's not clear if the Little Shubert will be the play's ultimate New York destination.
The Mandrake Root made its West Coast premiere Jan. 26-Feb. 24, 2002, at San Jose Repertory Theatre with Redgrave as the family matriarch Rose Randall. The New York production was to be a repeat of the San Jose Repertory staging, which was a revised edition of the Mandrake Root that received its world premiere in 2001 at the Long Wharf Theatre. Shook directed both productions.
Around Rose, Redgrave has crafted a story of betrayal, sex and crippling family errors, while examining the essence of mother-daughter relationships. The character she plays, the actress-playwright admits, is much based on her mother, the British actress Lady Rachel Kempson. The six-actor show focuses on a theatrical family.
One of five generations of actors in the Redgrave family, Redgrave already visited her family on stage with her Tony-nominated one woman show, Shakespeare for My Father. Other theatre work has included the Tony-nominated Mrs. Warren's Profession, Black Comedy, Aren't We All and Moon Over Buffalo. She was nominated for an Academy Award for the film "Gods and Monsters," her second such honor after being tapped for playing the title role in "Georgy Girl."
Producer Dietz has had ties with Shook and Redgrave since the early '80s. Dietz gave Shook his first professional job, directing Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You, a production Redgrave later joined. Redgrave also performed her Shakespeare for My Father at the Canon Theatre.