Though the current Off-Broadway mounting of Collected Stories is still officially in an open run (selling tickets through March), New Jersey's George Street Playhouse has announced that both cast-members, Uta Hagen and Lorca Simons, will bring the show to New Brunswick starting April 3. The show will officially open there Apr. 7 for a run through May 2.
George Street spokesperson Gabriel Shanks told Playbill On-Line (Jan. 27) the producers agreed to the deal two weeks ago, with Hagen officially signing on two days ago. A hot property with Hagen, Collected Stories was being eyed by such venues as the Kennedy Center and national tour possibilities, but sources say Hagen picked George Street owing to her long-standing friendship with new artistic director David Saint.
"I can personally say that it is a testament to the entire state of New Jersey and its theatre audiences that Ms. Hagen will join us this season," said Saint in a statement.
Spokesperson Shanks noted that the show will probably have "an abbreviated rehearsal period" at George Street, since the stars, and director (William Carden) are the same. It's not clear yet how much of the Off-Broadway set will or can be used on the NJ theatre's circular thrust stage.
Collected Stories began performances at the Lucille Lortel Theatre July 28, 1998. The show opened Aug. 13 for a run intended to go through Oct. 18. It was then extended to Jan. 3, 1999 and recently extended beyond that to an open run. 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 Carden and co-starred Simons.
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. For tickets and information on Collected Stories at the George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, call (732) 246-7717.