The "new comedy about finding your voice — and throwing it" begins preview performances Sept. 19. A pre-Broadway engagement at Boston's American Repertory Theatre plays July 12-Aug. 6.
The Two and Only! was seen in an earlier Manhattan engagement at the home of the Atlantic Theater Company in 2004.
Johnson has been a ventriloquist for 30 years, and is most widely known for playing Chuck and Bob on TV's "Soap."
According to production notes, "The ancient craft was discovered thousands of years ago and was used by early chieftains and tribesmen, who acted as mediums between men and supernatural forces. The case has also been made that diviners in many religions, including the Oracle of Delphi, were ventriloquists. With his dummy Bob, Jay Johnson follows in the footsteps of such performers as Jules Vernon, Fred Russell (and Coster Joe), The Great Lester (and Frank Byron, Jr.), Edgar Bergen (and Charlie McCarthy) and Paul Winchell, who have all helped to define ventriloquism as a bonafide modern art form."
Calling the show a solo turn is misleading. Johnson "deconstructs and demonstrates his lifelong obsession" with a "cast" that includes Bob, Amigo, Darwin, Long John La Feat, Nethernore — the Bird of Death, Spaulding, Arthur Drew, Jackie and Ga Ga, and Squeaky." The Two and Only!is written and performed by Jay Johnson, conceived by Jay Johnson, Murphy Cross and Paul Kreppel and directed by Murphy Cross & Paul Kreppel. The creative team also includes Beowulf Boritt (scenery), Clifton Taylor (lighting), David Gotwald (sound), and Michael Andreas (original music).
The producers are Roger Alan Gindi, Stewart F. Lane & Bonnie Comley, Dan Whitten, Herbert Goldsmith Productions and WetRock Entertainment.
Jay Johnson: The Two and Only! will play the following performance schedule: Tuesday-Thursday at 7 PM, Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 PM & 8 PM, Sunday at 1 PM & 5 PM.
Tickets will go on sale exclusively to American Express card members on Aug. 16 at 4 PM (to Sept. 1); cardholders should first visit www.broadway.yahoo.com or call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200. Tickets for the general public go on sale Sept. 3 via TeleCharge.com and at (212) 239-6200 and the Helen Hayes Theatre box office.
For more information, visit www.thetwoandonly.com.
The Tony Award-winning Sarah Jones will end her run in Bridge and Tunnel at the Hayes Aug. 6. Its several extensions bumped a spring and summer plan for The Two and Only!, but the latter now settles into a late summer start.