Roundabout Theatre Company's American premiere of Brian Friel's Give Me Your Answer, Do will opens Oct. 5. Friel's play stars Joey Grey (Cabaret), Lois Smith, Kate Burton, Gawn Grainger, Helen Carey, John Glover and Michael Emerson.
With Answer, Do! Roundabout continues its relationship with Friel, having previously presented the American premiere of Friel's Molly Sweeney and a revival of Philadelphia, Here I Come!.
Other plays by Friel include the 1992 Tony Award-winning best play, Dancing at Lughnasa, Lovers, The Mundy Scheme, The Loves of Cass McGuire, Faith Healer, Aristocrats, Wonderful Tennessee and The Freedom of the City.
Answer, Do! is set in Donegal, Ireland, where novelist Tom Connolly and wife Daisy nervously await the decision of their houseguest as to whether he will purchase Tom's papers for a U.S. college library -- a deal which would offer some compensation following Tom's literary paralysis.
In terms of the cast, Answer, Do! marks the return to the spotlight of Tony and Academy Award-winner, Joel Grey. Although Grey recently appeared as Mr. Cellophane in Chicago, he hasn't officially starred in a play since Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart in 1985. Tony and OBIE-winning actor Glover won his awards for playing not one but two roles as twins in both the stage and screen versions of Terrence McNally's Love! Valour! Compassion!.
Though Michael Emerson was recently featured in the ensemble of The Iceman Cometh, audiences may be more familiar with him through his performance as the original Oscar Wilde in the long-running Off-Broadway hit, Gross Indecencies.
Kate Burton stepped in for the final weeks of Beauty Queen of Leenane for Marie Mullen. She also replaced Kate Nelligan in An American Daughter. Burton's other credits include Company, Jake's Women, Some Americans Abroad (Drama Desk Nomination),Wild Honey, Doonesbury, Alice in Wonderland, and Present Laughter (a role for which she won a Theatre World Award).
Kyle Donnelly, a former Associate Artistic Director of Arena Stage, directs. The design team for Answer includes Tom Lynch (sets), Martin Pakledinaz (costumes), and Kenneth Posner (lighting).
Along with Give Me Your Answer, Do! and the Broadway revival of The Rainmaker, starring Woody Harrelson, the Roundabout Theatre Company has also informed subscription members that the following plays are under consideration for their 1999-2000 season:
• Desire Under the Elms by Eugene O'Neill, directed by David Leveaux. O'Neill's classic 1920s drama chronicles a New England farm family and their degeneration into adultery and greed. The play was brought up on obscenity charges during its original Broadway run, but the jury found O'Neill innocent. The Tony Award-winning Leveaux recently directed Pinter's Moonlight for The Roundabout, with Broadway credits including: O'Neill's Anna Christie with Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson (Tony Award for Best Revival) and A Moon for the Misbegotten.
• You Can't Take It With You by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. The Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy was first staged in 1936 and follows an eccentric household where each family member creates his own chaos. The play was later made into an Academy Award-winning film. Director Nicholas Martin has told Playbill On-Line that he will be directing the show, but a Roundabout spokesperson could not confirm the report at press time.
• Hotel Suite by Neil Simon, directed by Rob Marshall, is an amalgam of Simon's previous "Suite" plays, combining four one-acts from his California Suite, London Suite, and Plaza Suite. After premiering in London in 1997, the play was produced earlier this year at Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theatre, where it starred Marina Sirtis (of "Star Trek: The Next Generation"). In Philly, Hotel Suite's four scenes, were, in order: Visitors from London from California Suite, about an Oscar nominated English actress and her husband; Visitor from Philadelphia, also from California Suite, about a couple from Philly, one of whom wakes up with a stranger; Diana and Sydney from London Suite, a second look at the English couple of the first scene; and Visitor from Mamaroneck from Plaza Suite, about a bride with pre-wedding jitters.
Another play previously reported as being under consideration, Warren Leight's The Glimmer Brothers, is no longer on the Roundabout roster, according to Variety. Reportedly, Leight wants to do some additional work on the drama, which was recently produced by the Williamstown Theatre Festival.
-- By Murdoch McBride