It's been an uneventful summer for The Unexpected Man, another New York-bound play by Yasmina Reza, author of the recently-closed, Tony-winning comedy, Art.
Back in December 1998, it was expected that Unexpected would come to Off-Broadway's Promenade Theatre and feature its London star, Eileen Atkins. Atkins is still very much with the project, but plans for the show are still being formulated. Its target is now spring 2000, possibly on Broadway, depending on the name recognition of Atkins' co star.
Months ago, recent Oscar nominee Nick Nolte ("Affliction") was in serious negotiations for the role, and he's still being courted, according to production spokesperson Adrian Bryan-Brown. "Nolte hasn't been confirmed and the role has not been cast, but he's still a possibility." No word on what other potential co-stars are being considered.
Nolte's many films include "The Prince of Tides," "Cape Fear," "48 Hours" and "Down and Out in Beverly Hills." Atkins' other New York credits include Indiscretions, A Room's of One's Own and Vita and Virginia. In the latter two, she played novelist Virginia Woolf.
When The Unexpected Man does reach New York, London director, Matthew Warchus, will again do the honors, and the show will feature the same design team as Art: Mark Thompson (set) and Hugh Vanstone (lighting). Warchus directed the April 1998 London production of Man at the Royal Shakespeare Company, then directed both the London and New York productions of Art; Christopher Hampton translated both Reza plays from French.
The West End production starred Atkins and Michael Gambon, with Atkins winning the Olivier Award as Best Actress in a Play for her performance as the lifelong fan of a writer who finds herself sitting across from him on a train. The play's running time is 80 minutes.
-- By David Lefkowitz & Robert Simonson