It was a play commissioned in 1950 by the new theatre manager for the St. James Theatre in London. The manager was theatrical legend Sir Lawrence Olivier, who directed and starred in the original production. He also brought the play to the Broadway boards in 1952, this time starring Rex Harrison, and it won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Play.
Now, a complete half-century following the original production, Verse Theatre Manhattan brings back the comedy which ensured playwright Christopher Fry a place in the annals of theatre history. His Venus Observed will play at Manhattan's Wings Theatre Dec. 7-23.
James Milton directs the drawing room comedy that features a cast of Jo Barrick, John D'Arcangelo, Daniel Dresner, Cameron Francis, Britta Jepsen, Maren Maclean, Peter Reznikoff, Baz Snider, Drew Staniland and Jennifer Dorr White. Deborah R. Rosen designs sets and costumes and David Alan Comstock handles lights.
Verse Theater also revived A Phoenix Too Frequent by Fry. Other shows by VTM, who are devoted exclusively to verse drama include Euripides' Helen, Seneca's The Madness of Hercules and Christopher Logue's The Husbands.