Restoring Color to Bway's Biltmore, The Violet Hour Begins Previews Oct. 16

News   Restoring Color to Bway's Biltmore, The Violet Hour Begins Previews Oct. 16 The New York premiere of Richard Greenberg's The Violet Hour begins performances at Broadway's Biltmore Theatre Oct. 16, representing the first time since 1987 that the theatre on West 47th Street has been alive with actors.

Manhattan Theatre Club renovated and now calls the Biltmore its Broadway home, making MTC a three-venue not-for-profit organization: It presents on two stages in City Center Off-Broadway and now on Broadway, at the 1925 playhouse that was once home to Barefoot in the Park, The Heiress and Hair. Seating is an intimate 650, down from the original 988.

The new play by Greenberg (Take Me Out, The Dazzle) has been seen in recent seasons in regional productions in Costa Mesa, California, and Chicago. Evan Yionolis (who helmed the world premiere of Greenberg's Everett Beekin for South Coast Rep) directs the New York premiere. The cast includes Tony Award-winner Robert Sean Leonard (The Invention of Love), Scott Foley ("Felicity"), Mario Cantone (The Crumple Zone), Jasmine Guy (Chicago, "A Different World") and Dagmara Dominczyk (Enchanted April).

The play's world premiere was in fall 2002 at South Coast Rep in California (Cantone appeared in that run). The Violet Hour has also been seen in a separate staging by Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago.

Greenberg, who won the Tony Award for Broadway's current Take Me Out, set The Violet Hour in 1919.

"John Pace Seavering (played by Robert Sean Leonard) is a driven young publisher at the start of his career in 1919. Faced with limited finances, Seavering must choose between publishing the memoirs of his lover, the singer Jessie Brewster (Jasmine Guy) or an unwieldy novel by his friend, Dennis McCleary (Scott Foley), whose marriage to heiress Rosamund Plinth (Dagmara Dominczyk) depends on the success of his book," according to MTC production notes. "Meanwhile, Seavering's high-strung assistant Gidger (Mario Cantone) attempts to find Seavering's missing theatre tickets while contending with a strange machine, which has mysteriously appeared at their office door." Designers are Jane Greenwood (costume), Christopher Barreca (set), Donald Holder (lighting) and Darron West (sound).

Opening is Nov. 6. The MTC Biltmore Theatre is at 261 W. 47th Street. For ticket information, call (212) 239-6200. For more information, visit www.manhattantheatreclub.org.

<i>The Violet Hour</i> cast: (L-R) Scott Foley, Dagmara Dominczyk, Jasmine Guy, Robert Sean Leonard and Mario Cantone
The Violet Hour cast: (L-R) Scott Foley, Dagmara Dominczyk, Jasmine Guy, Robert Sean Leonard and Mario Cantone Photo by Joan Marcus