Send in the Clowns: London Hit, Play What I Wrote, Begins on Bway March 7

News   Send in the Clowns: London Hit, Play What I Wrote, Begins on Bway March 7 The Play What I Wrote, a quirky London theatrical sensation, begins its American premiere at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre March 7, complete with a secret celebrity guest star.
Sean Foley and Hamish McColl in the London production of The Play What I Wrote.
Sean Foley and Hamish McColl in the London production of The Play What I Wrote. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Kenneth Branagh directs the work of Hamish McColl, Sean Foley and Eddie Braben, featuring actors McColl and Foley and Toby Jones on stage. The 2002 Olivier Award winning play "revolves around Hamish, who no longer wants to be part of his comedy double act with Sean," according to production notes. "Instead, he wants to see the play he has written, A Tight Squeeze for the Scarlet Pimple, properly mounted on the Broadway stage. But before this can happen, he needs a major star to play the supporting role to his lead role."

The Play What I Wrote stars McColl and Foley (known as the comedy duet "The Right Size" for more than 12 years) and Toby Jones (who won an Olivier Award for this performance in London), plus one special guest star each night. As in London, a "revolving door" of stars is expected at the Lyceum, where the play opens March 30 following previews.

In the West End, those making special appearances as themselves included Ralph Fiennes, Ian McKellen, Roger Moore, Jerry Hall, Sting and Ewan McGregor, among others. The identity of the nightly guest will be a tightly guarded secret.

The New York premiere is presented by The Orpheum Circuit (David Pugh, Joan Cullman, Mike Nichols, Hamilton South, Charles Whitehead, Stuart Thompson). The show is billed as a Nichols & Pugh production.

Producers offered tickets for the first five previews at the prices of, respectively, $1, $2, $3, $4 and $5. Tickets went on sale March 3 at the Lyceum box office, with film and stage actor-director Kenneth Branagh ("Hamlet") on hand to serve tea to those seeking a bargain; the special tix quickly sold out. Regular ticket prices range $45-$80. The original London mounting was an homage to the famed-in-Britain-but-mostly-unknown-in-the-U.S. comedy team of Ernie Wise and Eric Morecambe.

Sean Foley and Hamish McColl's other productions include Bewilderness and the comedy Do You Come Here Often?, which won the 1999 Olivier Award for Best Entertainment and was nommed for a Drama Desk Award when it played Off-Broadway (where the duo made their New York stage debut).

Irving Davies, who recently passed away, created the original choreography, performed to original songs by Gary Yershon. Designing the show are Alice Power (sets, costumes) and Tim Mitchell (lighting).

The Lyceum is at 149 W. 45th Street. For ticket information, all (212) 239-6200.

(L-R) Toby Jones, Sean Foley, Ralph Fiennes (in a special guest appearance) and Hamish McColl in <i>The Play What I Wrote</i>.
(L-R) Toby Jones, Sean Foley, Ralph Fiennes (in a special guest appearance) and Hamish McColl in The Play What I Wrote.