The New York premiere of David Lindsay-Abaire's comedy,Wonder of the World, with Sarah Jessica Parker playing a housewife who flees to Niagara Falls, begins Oct. 9 at Manhattan Theatre Club, with Marylouise Burke, Kristine Nielsen, Amy Sedaris and Alan Tudyk in her company. Jeremy Sisto and Bill Raymond will complete the cast, MTC announced (Aug. 31).
The Off-Broadway nonprofit, hot this past season with Broadway's Proof and The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, will kick off the 2001-2002 season with the previously-announced Wonder, directed by Christopher Ashley. Previews begin Oct. 9 at MTC's Stage I at City Center. Opening is set for Nov. 1.
Wonder of the World had its world premiere May 22-July 16, 2000, by Washington DC's Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Lindsay-Abaire penned the offbeat comedy, Fuddy Meers, seen at MTC in late 1999 prior to a brief Off-Broadway commercial run in 2000.
Parker will play Cass, a wife who leaves her husband in search of something better in Niagara Falls. Armed with a "to-do list" that includes "learn Swedish, eat venison, witness an execution, wear a large wig," Cass meets Lois, a suicidal alcoholic with a pickle barrel perfect for the falls. A romantic boat captain, a psychotic helicopter pilot and a bickering couple disguised as detectives were also part of the story's mix.
Designing Wonder are David Gallo (set), David C. Woolard (costumes), Ken Billington (lighting) and Mark Bennett (music & sound). Lindsay-Abaire's other plays include A Devil Inside and The Kitchen Sink Drama. He is also working on a new play, Jiminy Christmas, a vehicle for comedian actress Janeane Garofalo.
Dates for some of MTC's offerings were announced by artistic director Lynne Meadow and executive director Barry Grove Aug. 9, although the company had already announced some titles to it potential subscribers. The 2001-2002 season also includes a virtual transfer of the recent summer LAByrinth Theatre staging of John Patrick Shanley's divorce comedy, Where's My Money?, on MTC's Stage II, beginning Oct. 16 and directed by the author; and Alan Ayckbourn's related in repertory plays, House (on Stage I) and Garden (on Stage II), beginning April 26, 2002 and opening May 21, 2002, under the direction of John Tillinger.
Also planned (with no dates, directors or MTC venues announced yet) are:
• The U.S. premiere of British playwright Zinnie Harris' Further Than the Furthest Thing, set on a small island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean where the outside world intrudes and upsets the island community's delicate balance.
• John Corwin's Gone Home, about Jack, a young writer who goes home for the first time in years. "Through a surprising series of visits with his family, he grapples with his guilt at having abandoned them, as well as his own hopes and fears," according to the announcement. MTC s production marks the New York debut for the emerging American playwright.
Revivals of The Bald Soprano and The Lesson, by Ionesco, by way of translator Tina Howe, and the American premiere of Bryony Lavery's A Wedding Story were previously announced as "under consideration" for the new season, but are not expected to be part of the mix.
For MTC subscription information, call (212) 399-3030 or visit ManhattanTheatreClub.com.
— By Kenneth Jones