Few knew, but Elaine Stritch, around the time of the announcement for a Jan. 9 benefit performance of At Liberty, told The Public Theater that she might as well finish out the week — so tickets quietly went on sale for shows Jan. 10-13.
The solo bio show about Stritch's life and Broadway career was to have officially ended Jan. 6 — the widely-reported closing date. A spokesperson for The Public said the decision to add show was made so quickly, there wasn't time to get the word out. The tickets were put on sale and the added performances sold like hotcakes and sold out — as did the entire run. The show, directed by George C. Wolfe and devised with John Lahr, moves to Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre Feb. 6.
Crowds attending performances Jan. 10-11 will be part of history. Elaine Stritch At Liberty live cast album will be recorded by DRG those nights, with Hugh Fordin producing. Lahr will write the liner notes.
Street date for the recording is April 9, but the disc will be speeded-up for exclusive sales at the Neil Simon when the show is in previews, according to a DRG spokesman.
* Due to the strenuous nature of the performance, which includes songs musical-directed by Rob Bowman and orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, the 76-year-old Stritch (who turns 77 Feb. 2) will perform the show on Broadway five times a week, 8 PM Wednesday-Saturday and 5 PM Sunday. Official opening is Feb. 21.
Only 80 performances are scheduled, but it's not hard to see that if Stritch wants it, if the business merits it and if the Tony Awards embrace her, the lady who introduced "The Ladies Who Lunch," will be lunching at the Simon well past the May end of the 2001-2002 season.
The Broadway run is produced by John Schreiber, Scott Sanders of Creative Battery, Margo Lion and Robert Cole, in association with Roy Furman and The Public Theater/NYSF.
Tickets range $40-$85. The Neil Simon Theatre is at 250 W. 52nd Street. For information, (212) 307-4100.