Playwright Edward Albee has said little about the plot of his new play, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?, beyond, "Our picture ad is going to be of the family and a goat and there's no problem in saying the goat is a part of the family."
By March 10, however, the critics will have had their chance to reveal the secrets of Albee's first new work on Broadway since 1981's The Man Who Had Three Arms. The Goat officially opens Sunday at the Golden Theatre.
"I hate it when I go to a party and people are talking about a movie they've just seen and they tell me too much about it, so I won't have any surprises," Albee said, explaining the closed lipped treatment.
The world premiere stars Bill Pullman and Mercedes Ruehl, under David Esbjornson's direction. Esbjornson found success with Albee's The Play About the Baby Off-Broadway. "The material is very sharp," Esbjornson told Playbill On-Line. "There are a lot of rhythms that have to be understood and adhered to. But it's also a realistic play, so we're going to try to approach it that way."
Ruehl won a Tony Award for Lost in Yonkers and an Academy Award for "The Fisher King." Last season, she starred as Martha opposite Patrick Stewart in Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf/ at the Guthrie Theatre. Other theatre credits include The Rose Tattoo and Other People's Money. Known for roles in "While You Were Sleeping," "Lost Highway" and "Independence Day," Pullman played Off Broadway in Curse of the Starving Class and Life and Limb. He appeared in Los Angeles in All My Sons.
Ruehl plays Pullman's wife, Stevie, billed in casting notices as "a woman of intellect and passion...capable of wit, rage, compassion and great power." Pullman plays Martin, an architect, who may be sleeping with someone or something not human (think of the title). Jeffrey Carlson (Romeo in the McCarter Theatre's Romeo and Juliet) is their son, Billy. Martin's best friend, the host of a Charlie Rose-type interview program, is played by Stephen Rowe (Some Americans Abroad, Second Stage's Tiny Alice).
Elizabeth Ireland McCann, Daryl Roth, Terry Allen Kramer, Scott Rudin, Fred Zollo, Carole Shorenstein Hays, Scott Rudin and Fred Zollo produce The Goat. Designers are John Arnone (set), Kenneth Posner (lighting), Elizabeth Hope Clancy (costumes) and Mark Bennett (sound). Previews began Feb. 16.
The playwright, best known for his landmark Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, recently enjoyed a well-received revival of his Tiny Alice at Off-Broadway's Second Stage. The remounting of the drama — which was reviled in its 1963 premiere — was embraced by many critics and, as a result, extended its run.
Albee's other past plays include the trio of Pulitzer Prize winning works, A Delicate Balance, Seascape and Three Tall Women, as well as the short works The Zoo Story and The American Dream.
Tickets are $65-$75. For reservations, call (212) 239-6200.