A.R. Gurney's latest, Darlene and the Guest Lecturer, will begin performances at NJ's George Street Playhouse Oct. 24. John Rando (David Ives' Mere Mortals) will direct the evening, opening Oct. 28 for a run through Nov. 22. The evening comprises two one-act thrillers.
Nancy Opel, who appeared in the aforementioned Mortals as well as in Broadway's Triumph of Love, stars in Darlene, alongside fellow Ives veteran Robert Stanton (All In The Timing). Mary Ellinger and Rex Robbins complete the cast, according to George Street Playhouse spokesperson Gabriel Shanks (Sept. 4).
The first one-act tells of a mysterious woman who puts a strain on a suburban couple's marriage. Part two looks at Mona, who runs a financially strapped regional theatre couple and takes "diabolical steps" to keep the venue going.
Gurney's best-known plays include Love Letters, Later Life and Sylvia.
* Already running at George Street is Anne Meara appearing in her own comedy/drama, After-Play. George Street artistic director David Saint will stage this Outer Critics Circle Award-winning hit, about two couples who visit an other-worldly restaurant after a night at the theatre. Saint directed After-Play when it ran Off-Broadway.
Meara will be joined by her Off-Broadway co-star Merwin Goldsmith, as well as by Helen Gallagher, Larry "F Troop" Storch (Breaking Legs), Peter Maloney, Laurie Kennedy and Earl Baker Jr. as the waiter.
The George Street mounting runs Sept. 19-Oct. 18, after officially opening Sept. 23.
As for the rest of the George Street schedule:
Holiday time (Nov. 28-Dec. 27) brings Inspecting Carol, Daniel Sullivan's regional theatre hit will be staged by artistic director Saint. The Christmas spoof was conceived by Sullivan and his company members when he was artistic director of Seattle Rep.
After the new year (Jan. 16-Feb. 21, 1999) Mark Nelson, an actor in Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Rumors and director of Drama Dept's June Moon, will stage Anton Chekhov's The Seagull. An "all-new interpretation" is promised for this look at mis-directed love within a Russian family.
Arthur Laurents' Jolson Sings Again arrives Feb. 27-Mar. 28, 1999. The play concerns a young theatre writer heading to make movies in Hollywood -- just in time to encounter the McCarthy era. Laurents' previous works include The Radical Mystique, staged in 1995 at NY's Manhattan Theatre Club second stage, and Jolson Sings Again done the same year at Seattle Rep. He's also the librettist for such legendary musicals as Gypsy and West Side Story.
(By the way, the Laurents play, which isn't really about Al Jolson, is not connected to two other upcoming shows that are: The Jazz Singer, a musical that may make it to Broadway if the capital can be raised; and Jolson: The Musical, which is gearing up for a multi-city tour.)
Springtime (Apr. 3-May 2, 1999) will bring either Paula Vogel's Pulitzer winning How I Learned To Drive or Donald Margulies' Pulitzer nominated Collected Stories. The latter would be a transfer of the current Off-Broadway re-mounting starring Uta Hagen.
From Apr. 17-May 16, 1999, associate artistic director Wendy Liscow will run a new play series (titled "Next Stage"), while Ted Sod will curate a solo performance festival (titled "The sDiva Project.") Both projects will occur on the theatre's second stage, dubbed "George 99."
Last season's plays at George Street included To Kill A Mockingbird and the pre-Broadway tryout of John Pielmeier's Voices in the Dark.
For tickets and information on George Street Playhouse's 25th anniversary season call (732) 246-7717.
-- By David Lefkowitz