Long-running, critically-acclaimed new plays on Broadway are few and far between. The last was Side Man from a season ago, and Warren Leight's jazz-inflected drama continues to get subsequent stagings around the country.
The latest regional venue to tackle Side Man is Arizona Theatre Company, which is playing the show at its Phoenix venue through Feb. 20. Performances began Feb. 3 for a Feb. 5 opening. Artistic director David Ira Goldstein directs.
Leight's Tony Award-winning play ended its lengthy Broadway run on Halloween, Oct. 31, after 23 previews and 409 performances at the John Golden Theatre. The drama began its New York life at Off-Broadway's CSC March 3, 1998, running 7 previews and 35 regular performances before its move to the Roundabout's now-defunct mainstage Stage Right space for 27 previews and 93 regular performances before its move to the Golden. (Completionists might want to add that the show's first staging was at Vassar College, for 12 performances.) A London staging, featuring original cast members Edie Falco, Michael Mastro, Kevin Geer and Tony winner Frank Wood, is due at the Apollo Theatre Feb. 17.
The show tells how a man's love of jazz ruins his marriage -- and his wife's sanity. Leight's latest play, Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine (fka "The Glimmer Brothers"), played at Upstate New York's Penguin Rep in November 1999.
Joel Anderson stars as distracted horn-player Gene, with Susan Cella (Crazy He Calls Me) playing his alcoholic, mentally unstable wife. Liam Craig, Nicolas Glaeser, Terri McMahon, Larry Paulsen and Kevin Ramsey costar. Designing the show are Scott Weldin (set), Dione H. Lebhar (costumes), Tracy Odishaw (lighting) and David Dansky (sound). For tickets ($22-$36) and information on ATC's Side Man at the Herberger Theatre Center, 222 East Monroe St. in Phoenix, call (602) 252 8497. Next up for the company will be William Shakespeare's comedy, As You Like It.
-- By David Lefkowitz