Those wishing to catch Al Pacino in the National Actors Theater's production of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui will have to shell out a pretty penny.
Demand is expected to be very high for the limited three-week engagement of the Brecht work, which will play the theatre at Pace University from Oct. 3-26. Membership to the National Actors Theater, which enables members to buy one ticket to the production, is priced at $50. The single ticket for Arturo costs $65, bringing the total of membership plus ticket to $115 (without service charges). The membership, however, does entitle the member to purchase tickets to other productions of the season. As of press time, two other plays are being planned, although titles have yet to be released.
A spokesman for the National Actors Theatre also explained that ticket prices for non-members are also being discussed, although nothing has been finalized. Memberships are now on sale and can be purchased by calling (212) 239-6280.
As previously reported, Pacino will star in a limited run of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui for the National Actors Theater this fall. The stellar company will also include Billy Crudup, a Tony nominee this past season for his work in the title role of The Elephant Man; Chazz Palminteri, Steve Buscemi and veteran actor Charles Durning. Simon McBurney will direct.
Written while in exile in 1941, Brecht's Arturo Ui recasts Hitler's rise as a Chicago gangster's takeover of the Windy City's green-grocery trade. The play bowed on Broadway in November 1963. The production featured incidental music by Jule Styne and a cast that included Sandy Baron, Leonardo Cimino, James Coco, Michael Constantine, Elisha Cook, Roger De Koven, James Frawley, John Karlen, Henry Lascoe, Christopher Plummer, Madeleine Sherwood, William Shust, Lionel Stander, Glenn Stensel, Murvyn Vye and Robert Weil. It ran for just five previews and eight performances. A 1968 revival at the Billy Rose Theatre ran ten performances.
Al Pacino made his Broadway debut in the 1969 production of Does a Tiger Wear Necktie?, earning a Tony Award for his performance. He scored another Tony for his role in the 1977 revival of The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel. The stage and film actor was last on Broadway in 1996 in a revival of Hughie, which he also directed. Pacino's other Broadway credits include Camino Real, King Richard III, American Buffalo, Chinese Coffee and Salome. He received the Academy Award for his work in the film "Scent of a Woman" and stars in the New Line motion picture "Simone."
Tony Randall founded the National Actors Theatre 10 years ago with the idea of putting on classic plays with a seasoned, European-style ensemble of performers, all on Broadway.
But it's been a rocky road for the company from the very first, with many productions poorly received and its most successful ones (Inherit the Wind, Judgment at Nuremberg) plagued by actors' illnesses. Many observers have, from time to time, expected the NAT to dissolve, only to see it valiantly return yet again with another offering.
NAT and Randall will live to fight another day, but the battleground is no longer Broadway. The company will take up residency at Pace University’s Michael Schimmel Theater Center. Randall plans a 40 week LORT season of four-to-six plays beginning in the fall.
When NAT first began in 1991, it scheduled full seasons, selling subscriptions and making one Broadway theatre (first the Belasco, then the Lyceum) its home. But bad reviews and financial troubles soon saw the theatre producing plays fitfully. Recent Broadway seasons have seen only one NAT production. In 2001-2002, none were scheduled.
The Pace deal, while taking down costs (the university is offering the auditorium and office space rent free) and lending the company the security of a permanent home, would seem to make NAT’s Broadway days a thing of the past.
Pace president David A. Caputo told Variety Randall would teach at Pace and consider students for roles in NAT productions.
Early NAT shows included The Seagull with Tyne Daly, Ethan Hawke, Laura Linney and Jon Voight; The Master Builder with Earle Hyman and Lynn Redgrave; Saint Joan with Maryann Plunkett. In recent years, as the NAT has operated in a more casual manner, presenting a play whenever the needed elements and talent were brought together, productions have included The Gin Game with Julie Harris and Charles Durning; Night Must Fall with Matthew Broderick; and Inherit the Wind, featuring the last Broadway performance of George C. Scott.
—By Andrew Gans
and Robert Simonson