The final weekend of Neil Simon's new play, The Dinner Party, is sold out at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, but a press rep has confirmed a published report that Emanuel Azenberg and others will bring the production to Broadway this fall after its July 16 capital close.
Henry Winkler, Len Cariou, John Ritter star in DC as the confused guests at a private dinner party in a chic Paris restaurant. Answers unfold when ex wives begin showing up in what has been described as a play by turns hilarious and emotionally honest.
On July 16, the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theatre will see the final performance of the John Rando-helmed staging that began in late 1999 at the Mark Taper Forum. The Kennedy Center run, slightly recast since L.A., is produced by The Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum. The Kennedy website indicates it closes July 23, but the box office told Playbill On Line that is not accurate.
A Broadway theatre has not been announced, nor has a cast, but the company in DC is likely to recreate roles in New York City. October is being eyed as a start date for the Broadway Dinner Party, according to a spokesman.
News of the Broadway move was first seen in The New York Times, which reported that Azenberg would produce, in association with Ira Pittelman and Ahmanson/Taper's Gordon Davidson. Ritter (of TV's "Three's Company") and Winkler (of TV's "Happy Days"), who starred in the play's Center Theatre Group world premiere in Los Angeles in December 1999, repeat their roles in DC. Also at the table are Cariou (Sweeney Todd), Veanne Cox (The Food Chain, Company), Penny Fuller (Applause) and Anette Michelle Sanders. Sanders and Cox also repeat their L.A. roles.
The Dinner Party opened June 22 at the Kennedy Center following previews that began June 17.
Simon's 31st play is set in Paris at an upscale gourmet restaurant where a party is being thrown by a well-known divorce lawyer. Two tuxedoed strangers meet, and are joined by a third, confused guest. Ex-wives soon enter.
Lloyd Rose of The Washington Post, in her review, said it was "Neil Simon in new, dangerous territory" and called the work "laugh out loud funny" and "Simon's emotionally richest play." John Rando's direction "gracefully glides the evening to its sweet yet mournful ending."
The Dinner Party had its world premiere Dec. 2, 1999, at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. The comedy on marital and romantic themes, set in a private dining room of a chic Parisian restaurant, continued to Jan. 16, and rewrites by the author were said to have continued through the week of Christmas last year.
The L.A. cast included Frances Conroy (The Little Foxes), Cox, Edward Herrmann (Psychopathia Sexualis), Ritter, Los Angeles actress Sanders and Winkler.
Simon is also once again represented in New York, where his Hotel Suite one-acts recently opened at Off Broadway's Gramercy Theatre. Other Simon works include Broadway Bound, Biloxi Blues, Brighton Beach Memoirs and Lost in Yonkers. A double-bill of Brighton and Broadway (in rep) may find its way to Broadway this season following an early 2001 run at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami, FL.
Tickets are $20-$65. For Kennedy Center information, call (202) 467 4600 or (800) 444-1324.