Reports indicate that The Countess, the season's longest running drama On or Off-Broadway may be on the run.
Unconfirmed press reports indicate that the 42nd Street Development Corporation will be moving ahead with plans raze the block, which means gutting the Samuel Beckett and replacing several other Theatre Row venues with a residential complex that features retail and theatre space below.
In accordance with strict zoning regulations, any demolished theatre would be replaced with an equivalent amount of theatre space and seating. The Shuberts have been named as joint sponsors in the new development.
Plans for moving The Countess are being considered but no decisions have been announced.
As reported earlier, The Countess, having logged its 300th performance at the Samuel Beckett Theatre Feb. 9, remains the longest running new drama of the season, both on or Off-Broadway. The Victorian era scandal, written by Gregory Murphy and directed by Ludovica Villar-Hauser, traces the true-life love triangle and sensational Victorian scandal that ensued some 146 years ago when London society learned that England's art critic and trend setter, John Ruskin, was being sued for divorce by his charming and popular wife, Effie, on the grounds that their union had never been consummated. Ruskin's wife was instantly vilified, and it was later revealed that there was another man, John Everett Millais, a founder of the Pre-Raphaelite movement.
"Modern audiences have the benefit of being able to speculate on this matter with a much more well rounded set of assumptions," says director Villar Hauser. "There are many dimensions to this tale and what is interesting is that we can compare our reactions to those of the Victorians."
The theatre is hosting a series of post performance discussions on Wednesday evenings through March 1. The theme includes Victorian era refreshments and a guest expert on one of the many subjects touch upon in the play -- women's issues, Victorian history, art and social politics. A question and answer period will be held at each discussion.
The first "Victorian Night" took place Dec. 8 and was attended by Ms. Tara Millais, a great-great granddaughter of Sir John Everett Millais and, it can now safely be revealed, Effie Millais.
The regular ticket price of $45 applies to Victorian Nights (reception included). The Samuel Beckett Theatre is located at 410 West 42nd Street. Call Ticketmaster at (212) 307-4100 for credit cards, or the box office at (212) 594-2826.
-- By Murdoch McBride