Tom Wopat and Amy Irving have been announced as the next cast of The Bat Theatre Company's production of The Guys for the May 14-June 14 run. Before they hit the stage, two former cast members Susan Sarandon and her beau Tim Robbins will reprise their roles on stage — opposite one another for the first time — in the two hander May 1-8.
The four performances with Robbins and Sarandon still have limited tickets available according to Bat associate producer Erik Sniedze. The downtown stalwart duo also played a special performance April 28 for the families and friends of those lost on Sept. 11 as part of the AFL-CIO sponsored Workers' Memorial Day tribute. The invitation-only event was moved from the 86-seat Flea to Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall to allow for a larger audience.
Film actress Sarandon's credits range from "Thelma and Louise" to "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Sarandon had four Academy Award nominations in the 1990s and finally won Best Actress for her portrayal in "Dead Man Walking."
Robbins, who formed the experimental theatre group called the Actors' Gang, has been seen in films such as "Bull Durham," "The Hudsucker Proxy," "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Player." Also a screenwriter-director, Robbins penned and helmed the film versions of "Cradle Will Rock," "Bob Roberts" and "Dead Man Walking."
The Guys, based on scribe Anne Nelson's real experiences, is a dialogue between a New York City fire captain — who has lost most of his men in the Sept. 11 attack — and an editor who helps him write the eulogies, as she struggles to come to terms with the event. Both find out, as quoted from the text, "We have no idea what wonders lie hidden in the people around us." The rotating casts of big name stars have lifted the little-known Off-Off Broadway troupe headed up by artistic director Jim Simpson to headlines. Following a workshop in December 2001 at the Bat's 80-seat venue, the play by first-time playwright Nelson, returned in January with Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver (Simpson's wife) in the leads. Subsequent performers — aided a la Vagina Monologues by a script atop a stand — included Bill Irwin, Anthony LaPaglia, Susan Sarandon and Swoosie Kurtz.
Bat artistic director Jim Simpson helms the work. Costumes are by Claudia Brown, set and lights are by Kyle Chepulis.
The play's not the only thing for this little-show-that-could. ContentFilm has signed on to finance, produce and distribute the screen version of the play starring Weaver and LaPaglia. Bat-man Simpson, who directed the play, adapted the screen version with some additions and will also take the helm for the film.
The Guys will also hit bookshelves in August as the play will be published by Random House. The paperback will also include two new essays by Nelson and photos from the theatrical production.
The hot tickets are $55. Limited $15 tickets for firemen and Port Authority workers with ID. Rush Tickets ($25) are sold on the same day, based on availability. The Flea is at 41 White Street in Tribeca. For reservations, call (212) 206-1515 or visit www.thebat.com.
— by Ernio Hernandez