Remember when Nick Nolte was nearly set to star in The Unexpected Man on Broadway?
Remember when Ben Gazzara was rumored to star in a Roundabout Theatre Company mounting of The Unexpected Man at the Gramercy Theatre?
Remember way back to December 1998, when Eileen Atkins was a definite to star in The Unexpected Man at the Promenade Theatre?
Well, that last, earliest prediction is the one that has come true -- albeit a year later than expected. As reported back in June, Atkins, who has been with the project since its London mounting by Matthew Warchus in spring 1998, will star in The Unexpected Man, set to start previews Oct. 10 at Off-Broadway's Promenade Theatre. Producer Julian Schlossberg told Playbill On-Line (June 16) Man would have a limited run, officially opening Oct. 24 and ending Dec. 31.
Tickets go onsale Aug. 1 for the show via Tele-Charge, (212) 239-6200. According to the Jeffrey Richards Associates press office, rehearsals begin in London Sept. 5.
Warchus (Art, True West) is still slated to direct, and Atkins' co star will be Alan Bates, a Tony winner for 1973's Butley and a film star via "An Unmarried Woman" and "Women in Love."
Atkins' credits include Vita & Virginia (opposite Vanessa Redgrave), and Tony-nominated turns in Indiscretions, The Killing of Sister George and Vivat! Vivat Regina!. The West End production starred Atkins and Michael Gambon, with Atkins winning the Olivier Award as Best Actress in a Play for her performance as the lifelong fan of a writer who finds herself sitting across from him on a train. The play's running time is 80 minutes. As it was in London, Christopher Hampton's English translation will be used, as will the design team that did Broadway's Art: Mark Thompson (sets and costumes) and Hugh Vanstone (lighting). Gary Yershon will provide original music.
Asked about how it all finally came together, producer Schlossberg told Playbill On-Line, "It's not sudden, believe me. I don't produce suddenly." He also noted that the Promenade's next tenant, High Infidelity, knows that it's in a "locked booking" [July 14-Sept. 24] and won't present a conflict for Unexpected Man's arrival in autumn. Schlossberg's co producrs are Ben Sprecher, Ted Tulchin and William P. Miller.
-- By David Lefkowitz