Revelation Theatre, a new nonprofit Off-Broadway outfit, will stage its first production in mid-November. The play, Temporary Help by David Wiltse, will be presented at Theatre Four, but it is artistic director Leslie Smith's plan that the company will soon be working out of its own theatre.
"We're building a space in an old garage," Smith told Playbill On-Line. The building is at 334 W. 39th Street, a few blocks from Times Square. When completed, it will boast 154 seats and a wide playing area similar to Signature Theatre Company's digs on W. 42nd Street.
As far as artistic blueprints are concerned, Smith is following the example of the defunct Circle Rep, the trailblazing Off-Broadway troupe which favored a sort of lyrical realism, premiered new works by Lanford Wilson, Bill Hoffman, Craig Lucas and Jon Robin Baitz, and nurtured a host of actors including William Hurt and Jeff Daniels before going belly up in 1995. Two names associated with Circle Rep—Hoffman and Austin Pendleton—are now connected by Revelation.
"We're going to really focus on finding new voices," said Smith. Other plays planned for the first season are: Holy Cross Sucks, a one-man show, directed by Jeff Calhoun, in which Rob Nash plays 32 characters at a Catholic School in Texas; and But Not For Me, a Keith Reddin work about Nixon, politics and a bellboy, which has had a staging at South Coast Rep. Billy Hopkins will direct the latter.
Smith himself—an Arkansas native who came to New York 10 years ago— will pilot Temporary Help, which was seen at Westport Country Playhouse last summer. Gordon Edelstein helmed that version. Wiltse had a hit on Broadway in the '80s with Doubles. —By Robert Simonson