Tovah Is Golda as Gibson's Balcony Opens on Broadway

News   Tovah Is Golda as Gibson's Balcony Opens on Broadway Tovah Feldshuh will grip the railing of Golda's Balcony once more as the Off-Broadway William Gibson hit opens at the Helen Hayes Theatre on Oct. 15. The one-woman show about the Israeli prime minister began previews Oct. 3.

The play was praised during its Off-Broadway run at the Manhattan Ensemble Theatre for its timelinessï¿*in respect to the continuing troubles between Jews and Arabs in the Middle Eastï¿*and for Feldshuh's fiercely committed performance as Israel's first and only woman prime minister.

The play shows an aged Meir in a high stakes game of international chicken, playing the United States, United Nations and the Arab world off each other in order to avoid what looks like Israel's destruction during the 1973 war. Between taking urgent phone calls, she reflects on her childhood in Milwaukee, her failed marriage and her role is founding the Jewish state.

The title refers to a perch from which Meir watched the progress of Israel's nuclear bomb program at the Dimona reactor. At the time of the war, speculation was high about the country's nuclear capabilities. The play positsï¿*and some historical accounts confirmï¿*that Israel had bombs ready and loaded on planes aimed at Egypt.

The show has racked up a nearly $2 million advance, according to MET artistic director David Fishelson.

Feldshuh has earned three Tony Award nominations, for Yentl, Sarava and Lend Me a Tenor, but she hasn't been on Broadway since 1990. As for playwright Gibson, who is just shy of 89 years old, it will be his first Broadway credit since writing the book to the short-lived 1986 musical Raggedy Ann. His biggest successes were, of course, the late-50s hits Two for the Seesaw and The Miracle Worker.

With Golda, director Scott Schwartz will likely have two shows on Broadway in 2002-03, the other being a probable Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Larry Shue's The Foreigner. His Off-Broadway credits include Bat Boy, tick, tick...BOOM! and The Castle at MET.

Scott Schwartz, who directs, is expected back on Broadway in the spring for a Roundabout Theatre Company revival of The Foreigner.

The one-person play by William Gibson started performances at the Manhattan Ensemble Theatre way back on March 13. Following its opening on March 26, to solid reviews, it extended several times.

Golda's Balcony was originally derived from a different play by Gibson, Golda, a large-cast show which starred Anne Bancroft and played on Broadway in 1977. Gibson converted it into a one-person drama, which had a production at Shakespeare & Co. in the Berkshires in summer 2002. The MET production is, furthermore, a different version than the one seen in Lenox, MA. Gibson is expected to be at the show's Broadway opening.

The design team of Golda's Balcony includes wig and hair designer Paul Huntley, set designer Anna Louizos, light designer Howell Binkley, costume designer Jess Goldstein, properties designer Kathy Fabian, and projection designer Robin Silvestri of Batwin + Robin Productions.

Tovah Feldshuh in <i>Golda's Balcony</i>.
Tovah Feldshuh in Golda's Balcony. Photo by Aaron Epstein
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