Facts and not fiction launch the 2002-03 season at Manhattan Theatre Club, where playwright-actress Charlayne Woodard tells her own showbiz story, In Real Life, opening Oct. 8 following previews that began Sept. 17.
Daniel Sullivan directs the New York premiere of Woodard's new piece, in the tradition of her past solo works, Pretty Fire and Neat. This time, she tells of her days as a young New York actress auditioning and ultimately landing her breakout role in Ain't Misbehavin', which MTC co-produced in the 1970s. Daniel Sullivan (Proof) directs on MTC's intimate Stage II.
Designers are John Lee Beatty (set), James Berton (costume), Kathy A. Perkins (lighting), Chris Walker (sound). Original music is by Daryl Waters. In Real Life is presented in association with Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, where it previously played. The piece was developed in the Sundance Theatre Lab and commissioned by the Taper and Seattle Repertory Theatre (where it also played).
Woodard was Tony-nommed for Ain't Misbehavin', the revue of songs by Fats Waller. Both Pretty Fire and Neat were previously seen at Seattle Repertory Theatre and are published by Penguin Press. The Goodman School of Drama alum has appeared at The Public Theater (In the Blood) and La Jolla Playhouse (Good Person of Setzuan, adapted by Tony Kushner), among other theatres, and in film and TV projects including "Buffalo Gals," "Unbreakable" and "Sunshine State." In Real Life plays seven performances a week. Tickets are $45. MTC operates two theatres at City Center, 151 W. 55th Street, and construction is under way for a third space — a Broadway home — at the former Biltmore Theatre. For information, call CityTix at (212) 581-1212 or visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.
— By Kenneth Jones