Tom Wopat and Amy Irving are to be the next cast of The Bat Theatre Company's production of The Guys. Former cast members Susan Sarandon and her beau Tim Robbins unite on stage in the two-hander May 1-8. Following two performances by understudies May 9-10, Wopat and Irving will perform May 14-June 14.
Perhaps best known for his stint as one of the "Good Ol' Boys" in television's "Dukes of Hazzard," Wopat has been seen on the New York stage in many musicals. He was a replacement player in I Love My Wife, City of Angels, and the revivals of Guys and Dolls and Annie Get Your Gun, as well as the latter's national tour.
Irving was also a Broadway replacement in the 1980 staging of Amadeus. The actress has played on The Great White Way in Heartbreak House, Broken Glass and Three Sisters. A viable screen star, she is remembered for her work in such films as "Carrie" and "Crossing Delancey." She garnered an Oscar nomination for her supporting role in "Yentl" and also provided — virtually unnoted — the singing voice of sexy Jessica Rabbit in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" voiced by current The Graduate star Kathleen Turner.
The four performances with Robbins and Sarandon are already sold-out as tickets were released prior to the announcement of the cast according to Bat associate producer Erik Sniedze. The downtown stalwart duo will also play a special performance for the families and friends of those lost on Sept. 11 as part of the AFL CIO sponsored Workers' Memorial Day tribute. The invitation-only event was moved from the 86-seat Flea to Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall to allow for a larger audience.
The Guys, based on scribe Anne Nelson's real experiences, is a dialogue between a New York City fire captain — who has lost most of his men in the Sept. 11 attack — and an editor who helps him write the eulogies, as she struggles to come to terms with the event. Both find out, as quoted from the text, "We have no idea what wonders lie hidden in the people around us." The rotating casts of big name stars have lifted the little-known Off-Off Broadway troupe headed up by artistic director Jim Simpson to headlines. Following a workshop in December 2001 at the Bat's 80-seat venue, the play by first-time playwright Nelson, returned in January with Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver (Simpson's wife) in the leads. Subsequent performers included Bill Irwin, Anthony LaPaglia and Susan Sarandon.
Bat artistic director Jim Simpson helms the work. Costumes are by Claudia Brown, set and lights are by Kyle Chepulis.
The play's not the only thing for this little-show-that-could. ContentFilm has signed on to finance, produce and distribute the screen version of the play starring Weaver and LaPaglia. Bat-man Simpson, who directed the play, adapted the screen version with some additions and will also take the helm for the film.
The Guys will also hit bookshelves in August as the play will be published by Random House. The paperback will also include two new essays by Nelson and photos from the theatrical production.
The hot tickets are $55. Limited $15 tickets for firemen and Port Authority workers with ID. Rush Tickets ($25) are sold on the same day, based on availability. The Flea is at 41 White Street in Tribeca. For reservations, call (212) 206-1515 or visit www.thebat.com.
— by Ernio Hernandez