Tom Dudzick's 1994 comedy about his Polish-Catholic upbringing in Buffalo, Over the Tavern, has been a regional hit, and now its creators are hoping New York City producers will laugh all the way to the bank.
A staged reading directed by Terence Lamude, who originally helmed the play and its sequel, King O' The Moon: Over the Tavern Part II, will take place 7:30 PM Jan. 24 at Irish Repertory Theatre, 132 West 22nd Street in Manhattan.
The private, industry reading features the cast of November-December 1999 Buffalo Studio Arena revival (the fourth presentation of the comedy there). The reading is intended for industry folk (read: producers and artistic directors) interested in seeing first-hand the comedy, about siblings in a Polish-Catholic family in working-class Buffalo in the 1950s. Young son, Rudy Pazinski, is a budding Ed Sullivan. His quick wit and flair for jokes put him at odds with humorless Sister Clarissa, and his stern barkeeper father.
The reading will feature Patrick Whitmarsh, Jeanne Cairns, Jesse Marchese, Barbara Tirrell, Joshua Biton, Mary Bacon, Bill Cwikowski and Tim McCracken.
For information about attending, call The Tantleff Office (212) 941 3939. *
Over the Tavern become one of the major new regional hits of the 1990s that wasn't spawned in London or New York City. After Buffalo, licensed stagings played Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell, MA, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Meadow Brook Theatre in the Detroit area, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Sacramento Theatre Company, Capital Repertory Company in Albany, Little Lake Theatre Company in Canonsburg, PA, Mountain Playhouse in Jennerstown, PA, Seven Angels Theatre of Waterbury, CT, Cincinnati Playhouse in Park and Actors' Theatre of Ashland, OR. Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has the play slated for March 2000.
In the sequel, King O' the Moon, set in the late 1960s, Rudy (now a seminarian) and his mother and siblings struggle with social changes and personal problems -- some faith-related -- as they remember the first play's now deceased patriarch.
Dudzick told Playbill On-Line that he has been commissioned to write part three of what will be the Pazinksi family trilogy. "The story is only beginning to formulate in my brain," he said in 1999, "but it will take place in 1979, ten years after Part II."
He added, "I can tell you with a fair amount of certainty, though, that Rudy, the main character, would be visiting the old Buffalo homestead from his home in New York City, where he is pursuing a playwriting career."
Dudzick has been called a Catholic Neil Simon for his warm, funny portrayals of middle class families. He was born in Buffalo, NY, in 1950.
He wrote and produced dinner theatre in Western New York, became a Buffalo-area favorite and moved to New York City in 1979. While working day jobs, he wrote a one-act comedy, Me, Too, Then, which won an award and was published by Samuel French. Greetings! was produced Off-Broadway starring Darren McGavin and has also become a regional favorite.
He lives in the New York City area with his wife and two children.
-- By Kenneth Jones