"It's a play about a couple who live in upstate New York. On the weekends, they run, manage and produce a small children's theatre which does things like Puss in Boots and Alice and Wonderland," the scribe told Playbill On-Line.
"They are given an opportunity to take over an old abandoned, decaying theatre which was once on the vaudeville circuit. It was a theatre that Sarah Bernhardt played in and Oscar Wilde gave a lecture in. It has an illustrious past and the old lady who owns it is looking for a person to pass it on to and she's willing to pay for the renovation. And these people become candidates," explained McNally. He added that the play is about "what price they're willing to pay to have their own theatre."
McNally's breadth of work includes plays (Master Class, Love! Valour! Compassion!) as well as libretti (Ragtime, Kiss of the Spiderwoman). All four mentioned works earned him Tony Awards. Other works include Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune, The Full Monty, The Visit, Corpus Christi, The Lisbon Traviata, Andre’s Mother and Lips Together, Teeth Apart.
The Stendhal Syndrome combines two plays around the theme of intoxicating art: Full Frontal Nudity — about three American tourists who are urged by an Italian guide to bask in the beauty of Michelangelo's "David" — and Prelude & Liebestod — which finds a celebrated conductor watching his life unravel right before his eyes as he leads the opening and ending pieces of Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde."
Isabella Rossellini and Richard Thomas star in the currently-running world premiere of Terrence McNally's The Stendhal Syndrome, which began performances at Primary Stages' new home 59E59, Feb. 1 and is set to open Feb. 16. For tickets, call (212) 279-4200.