The premiere of Beth Henley's latest play, Impossible Marriage opens Oct. 15 at Roundabout Theatre's off Broadway space, the Laura Pels.
Lois Smith and Jon Tenney co-star with Holly Hunter in the production. Smith, whose credits include Tony-nominated turns in Buried Child and The Grapes of Wrath, will play Hunter's mother; and Tenney, who was featured in The Heiress and The Substance of Fire, is Hunter's husband.
Henley is the author of The Miss Firecracker Contest and the Pulitzer-winning Crimes Of The Heart. Her new comedy tells of a woman (the sister of the Hunter character) married to a man "over twice her age, balding, overweight and rumored to be a philanderer." Also in the cast are Christopher McCann, Jon Tenney, Gretchen Cleevely, Daniel London and Alan Mandell.
According to press spokesperson Erin Dunn (of Boneau/Bryan-Brown), Henley was the first playwright ever commissioned by the Roundabout; their link goes back to 1985 and the company's "New Play Initiative."
Holly Hunter is best known for her film work in Raising Arizona, Michael, The Piano and Broadcast News. She also starred in Henley's The Wake Of Jamey Foster on Broadway in 1982 and in the film version of Miss Firecracker. Stephen Wadsworth directs Marriage, which is slated to run through Jan. 10, 1999. Designing Impossible Marriage are Tom Lynch (set), Martin Pakledinaz (costumes), Peter Kaczorowski (lighting) and Dan Wojnar (sound).
For tickets ($55) or more information on Impossible Marriage at the Laura Pels Theatre, 1530 Broadway, call (212) 719-9300.
Joining Prince and Short is Michael McGrath, who was showcased in the Broadway musical Swinging on a Star and was a well-received Groucho in Off-Broadway's The Cocoanuts. He was also an original cast-member of Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know.
Also in the show are soap opera actor Michael Park and Charles Busch veteran Ruth Williamson (The Green Heart), alongside Brooks Ashmanskas, Peter Benson, Michael Arnold, Jeffrey Hankinson, Ned Hannah, Denis Jones, Michael McEachron, Roxanne Barlow, Caroline Liadakus, Susan Misner, Cynthia Onrubia, Joey Pizzi, Josh Prince and Courtney Young.
Prince (The King and I) co-stars with Short (The Goodbye Girl) in this revival, beginning previews Sept. 30 on the mainstage. According to Roundabout Artistic Director Todd Haimes, Prince will play Belle Poitrine. Though Belle is the central character, the wildly different men she meets in her highly eventful life are played by same actor (Short), making it a tour-de force for a male comedy performer.
Weeks ago, Martin Short told Playbill On-Line's Harry Haun, "I've never worked before with Faith, but I'm a big fan of hers. I like the idea of being on stage with someone who's actually better than you are. I think that's the way to do it."
Initially, the Roundabout was seeking director Walter Bobbie (Chicago) to stage the revival, but Little Me will instead be helmed by Rob Marshall, who co-directed the Roundabout's current -- and sensationally reviewed -- Cabaret revival.
Marshall told the NY Times, "[Little Me] is one of those plays that's rarely done because it has to be done for somebody. There has to be a star to build it around... We're fortunate that we still have Neil [Simon] and Cy [Coleman] with us, and they'll be working with us and tailoring it for Marty [Short]."
Short, comedy star of "SCTV," "Saturday Night Live" and the film Father of the Bride and Three Amigos, would play the roles originated by Sid Caesar and recreated in the 1980s by Victor Garber. Short's legit credits include The Goodbye Girl and Encores!' Promises, Promises.
Songs in Little Me, which starts previews Sept. 30 on the mainstage, include "I've Got Your Number," "Real Live Girl" and "Be A Performer."
Short made his Broadway debut in another Neil Simon musical, the short- lived 1993 The Goodbye Girl. Other Simon plays include Proposals, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, The Sunshine Boys and Fools.
Current Roundabout productions include Cabaret, which is mulling a move to the Studio 54 dance club space, and Side Man, which played at the Roundabout mainstage through Sept. 13 and moves to the John Golden Theatre, Sept. 20.
For tickets and information on Roundabout shows call (212) 719-1300. Seven-play subscriptions run $231-$288, with discounted series for teachers and for kids ages 13-18.