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. Performances began July 28 for an Aug. 13 opening and a run intended to go through Oct. 18. Due to audience ticket demand, the show has now been extended to Jan. 3, 1999, according to a spokesperson from the Jeffrey Richards press office (Sept. 14).
The production is a somewhat unusual one because Margulies' play received its New York premiere only last year at the Manhattan Theatre Club. That staging starred Maria Tucci and Debra Messing under the direction of Lisa Peterson.
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 Lunts' 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.
-- By Robert Simonson