Uta Hagen is currently making one of her periodic and heralded returns to the stage. The legendary actress stars in Donald Margulies' Collected Stories at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. While producers had previously announced an extension only through Jan. 3, 1999, due to enthusiastic crowds, the show now runs open-ended.
The production is a somewhat unusual one because Margulies' play received its New York premiere in 1997, at the Manhattan Theatre Club. That staging starred Maria Tucci and Debra Messing under the direction of Lisa Peterson. Most revivals tend to not open shortly after the original production but, then again, most casts don't boast Uta Hagen.
Collected Stories concerns an aging writer who is befriended and betrayed by her young protege; the drama delves into issues of mentoring and plagiarism. The play was a finalist for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize.
Hagen became interested in the work after appearing in the play this past spring at HB Studios, the Manhattan acting school where she has taught since 1947. That show was directed by William Carden and co-starred Lorca Simons, both of whom repeat their roles at the Lortel. Carden directed Hagen in her last New York appearance, in Nicholas Wright's Mrs. Klein, also at the Lortel. Simons' credits include a year with the national tour of Three Tall Women.
The HB mounting was designed by Ray Recht (sets), Chris Dallos (lighting), Robert Auld (sound), and Mirena Rada (costumes). Hagen created the roles of Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Georgie in The Country Girl. She played opposite Paul Robeson and Jose Ferrer in Othello and was Nina in the Lunt's production of The Seagull.
For tickets ($37.50-$49.50) and information on Collected Stories at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher St., call (212) 239-6200.