Starry Solo Works, Talking Heads, Extends to Open-Ended Run in Greenwich Village

News   Starry Solo Works, Talking Heads, Extends to Open-Ended Run in Greenwich Village The New York premiere of Alan Bennett's six-play, two sittings theatrical experience known as Talking Heads has people talking — and it's extending from a limited Off-Broadway run to an open run, the producers announced.

Kathleen Chalfant, Daniel Davis, Christine Ebersole, Valerie Mahaffey, Lynn Redgrave and Brenda Wehle star in the New York staging of the six monologues, or "solo pieces," as they're being billed. The solo works actually total seven, since Frances Sternhagen was added to the mix as a floating addition, to replace some shows when performers are absent or perhaps augmenting an evening (four plays for the price of three). Her one-act has appeared several times in April, including the opening day, April 6.

The two alternating programs are directed by Michael Engler. Talking Heads, first seen on British television and later staged by Engler in Los Angeles, began previews at the Minetta Lane Theatre March 22.

Minetta Lane Theatre is at 18 Minetta Lane, just east of Sixth Avenue, one block south of West Third Street. An initial run of 16 weeks was announced, and now it's open ended. The works got a boost when Roundabout added the show to its season, allowing a flood of 27,000 theatregoers to attend one of the two works between May 6 and Aug. 24, further stimulating word of mouth. Similarly, Manhattan Ensemble Theatre offered the works to its subscribers as the final selection of its season.

Talking Heads is presented by Plymouth Projects (Tom Hulce and Julia Rask), Ron Kastner, Daryl Roth, Cheryl Wiesenfeld, Margaret Cotter, Amy Nederlander and Scott Nederlander.

Talking Heads includes two programs (A & B) each consisting of three plays. The two programs play in rotation and each is scheduled for four performances per week (with a seventh solo serving as a floater piece). The plays are: PROGRAM A

The Hand of God (performed by Brenda Wehle): "Even in the cheapened era of eBay and Antiques Road Show, nothing can diminish Celia's expert appreciation of fine antiques. Nothing, that is, but the Hand of God."

A Lady of Letters (performed by Christine Ebersole): "A compulsive letter writer interferes in what she wrongly perceives as a local case of child abuse."

Bed Among the Lentils (performed by Kathleen Chalfant): "A reluctant minister's wife discovers her salvation from a surprising source."

PROGRAM B

Her Big Chance (performed by Valerie Mahaffey): "Leslie thinks she has a great deal to offer, both as an actress and a person, and when she gets her 'big chance,' offer she does."

A Chip in the Sugar (performed by Daniel Davis): "A middle-aged man, still living with his widowed mother, finds himself playing second fiddle to an old suitor of hers who comes back into her life."

Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet (performed by Lynn Redgrave) "charts a middle class woman's first tentative steps from willful innocence to a deeper understanding of life and the world."

Waiting for the Telegram(performed by Frances Sterhagen): "A 95-year-old woman experiences a new life's love and loss, and recalls another from her past."

Talking Heads is performed 8 PM Tuesday Saturday and 7 PM Sunday, with matinees 3 PM Saturday and Sunday (through the end of May).

Tickets range $35-$65 and are available by calling (212) 307-4100 or the Minetta Lane Theatre at (212) 420-8000, or in-person at the Minetta Lane Theatre Box Office at 18 Minetta Lane (Greenwich Village). A two-performance package deal (for Programs A and B) is available for $100 when both programs are purchased simultaneously, either in person or over the phone (offer not applicable to online purchases).