Despite ticket discounts to help sell the show during the slow winter months, Tooth Of Crime - Second Dance, Sam Shephard's play with a new musical score by T Bone Burnett, will close Jan. 12. The show, a Signature Theatre/Second Stage Theatre co-production at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, will have run 44 previews and 22 regular performances. According to production spokesperson James Morrison, the show now ends because it has accommodated ticket demands from both subscriber bases.
Tooth Of Crime continued Signature's year-long commitment to the works of Shepard. The author's surreal examination of power and celebrity opened Dec. 23 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. To acknowledge Shepard's extensive rewrites (including Burnett's new music), this production is subtitled Second Dance.
In other Tooth news, T Bone Burnett, who wrote new music and lyrics for this revival/rewrite production of Sam Shepard's rock `n' roll drama, has recorded those songs for his next album, which has again delayed release. According to Nonesuch Records spokesperson Matt Hessburg, the album, due for release Feb. 1997, will now come out in April. Though it's not a cast album, the production had wanted to have the recording ready to sell in time to coincide with Tooth's opening at the Lortel. The date had to be pushed back because of scheduling difficulties.
Signature's first Shepard mounting, a double-bill of one-act plays, the New York premiere of When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable) and 1965's Chicago, directed by longtime Shepard collaborator Joseph Chaikin, was extended to Dec. 15 (it had been scheduled to close Dec. 1). World Was Green had its world premiere this past summer at the Seven Stages Theatre of Atlanta, as part of that theatre's celebration of the Olympic games.
The Tooth of Crime: is a "rewritten" revival of Shepard's 1972 play about a mythical rock musician. Directed by Bill Hart, the show features all new music and lyrics by T. Bone Burnett (Shepard did the music for the original). "It's difficult to encapsulate the changes between the old version and the new," Chris Burney, Second Stage's literary manager, told Playbill On Line. "Shepard has updated a lot of the language, but it's still a post apocalyptic, non-realistic, poetic piece. It tries to evoke a mood and emotion in the audience, but describing it is like trying to explain a haiku." According to Burney, "The story concerns a gang-style fight for turf in the rock music world. Hoss, the protagonist, is nearly a superstar, but he finds himself challenged by the younger generation."
Why the Second Stage, why now? "The Second Stage has been interested in the work for awhile; Carole [Rothman, artistic director] has always found the piece intriguing. And Sam Shepard wanted to go back and work on the play again."
Starring in Tooth is Vincent D'Onofrio who appeared in Open Admissions on Broadway, and who has pursued a film career that includes Full Metal Jacket, Ed Wood (as the young Orson Welles), Mystic Pizza, The Player, Adventures in Babysitting and the current Feeling Minnesota.
Also in the cast are Rebecca Wisocky, Sturgis Warner, Jeffrey Anders Ware, Jesse Lenat, Paul Butler, Kirk Acevedo and Michaell Deep. E. David Cosier designed the set, Teresa Snider-Stein the costumes, Anne Militello the lighting, and David Van Tieghem the sound. Video design is by Kevin Cunningham & Wild Kind.
For tickets and information on Tooth Of Crime, in an open run at the Lucille Lortel Theatre on Christopher Street, call (212) 239-6200.
--By David Lefkowitz