"City Arts," the half-hour PBS arts roundup series, which airs on New York's Channel 13, returns to the weekly schedule Jan. 8, 1999 with a special "Best of Theatre" segment.
The first segment, which originally aired Oct. 30, 1998, looks at "The Return of Irma Vep." As the title would indicate, the segment covers the current, successful revival of Charles Ludlam's camp classic, The Mystery of Irma Vep . Vep star Everett Quinton, Ludlam biographer David Kaufman, and writer-producer-actor Charles Busch discuss the play and Ludlam's legacy.
Part two is titled "John Guare's Signature Theater," a reference to Off-Broadway's Signature Theatre Company and its decision to devote this season solely to Guare's work (last year they did Arthur Miller; next year will be Maria Irene Fornes). In the segment, Guare talks about his work and his experiences. Wendy Wasserstein, Edward Albee and Mel Shapiro also weigh in on the value of Guare's plays, such as Six Degrees of Separation and the currently revived Bosoms and Neglect.
Finally, with "Theatre on the Edge," (formerly titled "Adventures in Theatre"), "City Arts" examines something it calls "ur-New Wave" and the "post-postmodern." In this case, the filmmakers mean New York's varied avant-garde theatre. Shows as diverse as Symphonie Fantastique, De La Guarda (both still running), the Andre Serban Taming of the Shrew and Elevator Repair Service's Total Fictional Lie are analyzed.
All "City Arts" programs are shown at 10 PM. -- By Robert Simonson and David Lefkowitz